Countering Russian Money Laundering: Lessons from Latvia

1 min read

Editor's note: ASD’s Joshua Kirschenbaum joined the Kleptocracy Initiative’s Charles Davidson, Peterson Institute’s Nicolas Veron, Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Andris Teikmanis, and Head of Latvia’s Financial Intelligence Unit Ilza Znotiņa to discuss Latvia’s lessons on countering Russian money laundering.

A spate of recent investigations across the globe highlights the alarming proliferation of financial corruption. Latvia’s ABLV Bank recently collapsed amid U.S. accusations of facilitating Russian money laundering, sanctions evasion, and bribing public officials. Latvia moved swiftly to address weaknesses in financial sector oversight, but the episode illustrates a wider vulnerability to the corrosive effects of illicit finance within the European banking sector.

In the past month alone, Denmark’s Danske Bank has been placed under investigation after $234 billion in potentially suspicious transactions passed through its tiny Estonian branch; the Netherlands’ ING agreed to pay $900 million for failing to prevent money laundering through its accounts; and Switzerland’s Credit Suisse was formally reprimanded over anti-corruption failures.