ECB’s Rimsevics Is Back at Work and Headed to Frankfurt

Aaron Eglitis
ECB’s Rimsevics Is Back at Work and Headed to Frankfurt

(Bloomberg) -- Latvian central bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics was back at work Wednesday after Europe’s highest court overturned his suspension about a year after the nation’s anti-corruption bureau briefly detained him as part of a bribery probe.

His next stop may be the ECB’s Governing Council meeting in Frankfurt next week.

“I will not restrict him, I will let him travel” to Frankfurt, Viorika Jirgena, the prosecutor in charge of his case, said in an interview. Rimsevics must still request permission to travel.

Rimsevics’s detention last year came amid a whirlwind of damaging information about Latvia and its banks, with the U.S. Treasury accusing the nation’s third-biggest bank ABLV Bank AS of money laundering, sparking its demise. Both Rimsevics and the bank deny all wrongdoing and are fighting to clear their names. The central banker’s case hasn’t been sent to Latvian court yet, since he is still submitting evidence in the pre-trial stage.

The Latvian central bank board won’t grant Rimsevics access to documents involving the case or information about commercial banks that are connected to it, with all legal inquires going through his deputy Zoja Razmusa, spokesman Janis Silakalns said in an email. He will start receiving pay from the bank beginning from the court’s decision on Tuesday, he said.

His return is a victory for the European Central Bank. The EU Court of Justice said Tuesday Latvia illegally prohibited the ECB Governing Council member from performing his role as central bank governor.

Still, despite the court win, Rimsevics faces restrictions on his travel, his bail and on meeting certain people, General Prosecutor Eriks Kalnmeiers told journalists in Riga on Tuesday. One of the people Rimsevics is restricted from meeting works at the central bank, Leta reported, citing the prosecutor spokeswoman Laura Majevska.

(Updates with prosecutor’s comment in third paragraph.)

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