The head of the Latvian fish processing company Brīvais vilnis ("Free Wave") Arnold Babris in an interview with the Neatkarīga Rita Avize (Independent Morning Newspaper) said that if the United States does not take into account Riga's interests, then perhaps it's time to think about changing the strategic partner. Thus, Babris, who once served in the Latvian Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution (counterespionage), commented on the collapse of the bank ABLV.
As previously reported, 24 February European Central Bank (ECB) decided to liquidate ABLV Bank. Earlier, on 13 February, the US Treasury Department's FinCEN reported that ABLV could be linked to money laundering internationally and bribery of officials in Latvia - and the bank was listed on the US sanctions list. The Latvian supervisory authorities, special services and police have begun checking this information. ABLV Bank's management rejected the charges, but the institution suspended membership in the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks. Within a week of the message, 600 million was withdrawn from the bank, and on 26 February, the ABLV shareholders' meeting at an extraordinary meeting decided to self-liquidate. The bank considered that only in this way it will be able to protect its assets in order to settle accounts with customers.
"What happened was a blow below the belt. The letter (FinCen - EADaily) declared the bank toxic and killed it. ABLV was ranked among the banks involved in money laundering operations. This means that other banks that cooperate with ABLV may be infected and suspected. Thus, without waiting sixty days for answers and explanations, ABLV was killed. It was a demonstration that the US can kill financial institutions in the EU that are under the supervision of the European Central Bank. Elegantly! Three days after the US message, 600 million were withdrawn from the bank. Now it is very important that a successful self-liquidation of ABLV takes place, so that the bank itself will pay off all creditors. ABLV must demonstrate that, despite the fact that the bank is liquidated, it settled with all its customers and fully met all the obligations. This will be a good signal to the world: you can invest in Latvian banks, and even if the bank is liquidated, you will receive your money back, "Babris said.
He added: "If the strategic partner becomes shoddy, and does not count with our interests, then maybe it's time to think about changing the strategic partner? The global state in the world is now not the US, but China - and therefore it is worth starting to think that it's time for us to take care of our interests. In the world there is no policy declared by society - there are only interests. Where are our national interests? A question for our politicians: why do they run ahead of the locomotive for the sake of others' interests, without reckoning with ours? For example, I have great respect for the Finns - Mannerheim demonstrated how to protect the interests of Finland. I have great respect for the Singaporean genius Lee Kuan Yew, who also constantly thought about the national interests of his country. If our politicians protect other people's interests, then why should we keep these politicians? I publicly call Ayvar Lembergs to file a lawsuit against Edgar Rinkevich who took the decision that caused the losses to Ventspils and the state in connection with the Nord Stream-2 project. Because of the actions of Rinkevich, this project was not abandoned - he was transferred to Sweden. And we lost millions. Why do we need politicians and officials who do not protect the national interests of our country? "
Recall that in June last year, Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevich, said that the state's participation in the project "Nord Stream-2" is a threat to the security of the state and does not meet its economic interests. The proposal suggested that the port of Ventspils could take the pipes necessary for the construction of the gas pipeline, store them on its sites and deliver them to the place of laying at sea. Moreover, investors offered to invest in the port 14 million euros, building additional cargo areas with an area of 7 hectares, which would then be transferred to Ventspils. However, according to Rinkevich, the use of the territory of the state for the construction of the gas pipeline can be used as a "cover for the intelligence activity of Russian special services on the territory of Latvia." The Minister said: "The government of Latvia is against the Nord Stream project 2. Because his state support would openly contradict the basic principles of our foreign policy aimed at cooperation with the EU and NATO countries. "
Mayor Ventspils Aivar Lembergs could not hide his annoyance and directly stated that Riga refused to participate in the project, obeying the external pressure. The mayor had the hope that, despite the government's refusal, some private companies from Ventspils would still be able to participate in the project, but the Russians said they did not want to do anything "from the back door", they would respect the will of the Latvian government, will do without her participation. "The total damage to the national economy of Latvia will be about 100 million euros," said the enraged mayor in this regard.