Our Latvian neighbors tried to build a "Baltic Switzerland" or even "the Baltic Liechtenstein", but suddenly it turned out that for the American colonies the option of turning into a "new Switzerland" is not fundamentally envisaged.
The introduction of European and American sanctions and financial restrictions against a large Latvian bank ABLV Bank AS caused a logical and classic question: "And what for?". Affected by the actions of the US Treasury and the European regulator, the Latvian bank is accused of providing money laundering services to Russian and Ukrainian corrupt officials, as well as in cooperation with the DPRK. The surprise is caused by the fact that until recently the United States, which is the initiator of repression against the Latvian banking sector, looked at the situation through fingers, and now they suddenly decided to strangle one of the main (if not the most important) sector of the Latvian economy. Larchik opens simply: in a sense, a specific Latvian bank - and in the future, the Latvian banking sector as a whole - suffers because of its success. Americans do not like competition in the provision of "black" and "gray" financial services, and if they have to use methods from the arsenal of special services, hacker attacks and media scandals in order to deal with competitors working under the cover of the British crown, then to eliminate Only one official speech by the leadership of the US Treasury will be enough for the Baltic rivals.
The building of the US Treasury in Washington
A special irony of the situation is that for the future of the Latvian financial sector it does not really matter whether the accusations that US financial regulators have made against a particular Latvian bank are truthful. Even if the bank is clean at 100% (in which there are certain doubts), the chances of successfully defending interests within the framework of the Latvian or American judicial systems appear to be zero. Latvian banks have long formed the reputation of organizations where it is easy to "solve issues" about "gray" or "black" schemes of dealing with money of unknown, criminal or corruption origin. After the demonstration and already quite successful flogging, which was arranged by ABLV Bank, this reputation will be supplemented by an important element: yes, Latvia is a place where very convenient and relatively loyal banking, but a specific Latvian bank can be liquidated at any moment, and clients more money not see. Actually, this will be enough to undermine one of the pillars and the Baltic economy, which is so limp on all legs, which suffers from depopulation, de-industrialization and the fact that Russian logistical flows are diverted to new Russian ports.
The main office of ABLV Bank in Riga, Latvia
When the US Ministry of Finance announces that its goal is to combat corruption and laundering of "black" money obtained by criminal means, it should be remembered that the largest offshore company in the world are the US itself. In fact, the US Ministry of Finance is struggling with rivals of American financial institutions that provide money laundering services in the states of Nevada and Delaware. In 2016, Bloomberg agency published a scandalous investigation, which described, among other things, marketing materials that lawyers of the American Rothschild & Co. used to attract foreign clients to Nevada offshore, serviced by a financial company. Judging by the citations from the presentations, a typical customer for such services is a "Hong Kong investor who worries that the Chinese authorities will learn about his money," and this image can easily be extrapolated to wealthy Russians, Europeans or Hispanics who are also very concerned about the possibility, that the authorities will be interested in the size and origin of their assets.
The most vivid fragment from the media outlet of Rothschild's lawyer Andrew Penny - his direct statement that the US is "this is actually the largest tax haven in the world", combined with assurances that the US authorities do not have a particular desire to fulfill the exchange obligations information with foreign tax authorities.
When the US Ministry of Finance smashes Swiss banks, in fact, there is a banal struggle for redistribution of the services market for servicing international corrupt financial flows and assets. When unknown hackers disclose information about offshore sites in the British Commonwealth (a union of sovereign states, which includes the UK and almost all of its former dominions, colonies and protectorates) - this is also an element of the struggle to redistribute the same market. When unknown hackers find, and the American media gladly publish information about what offshores the royal family of Great Britain is investing, in fact, too, there is a struggle for redistribution of this market of "black" and "gray" financial services. When the opportunity is at stake to attract trillions of "black" and "gray" dollars into your financial system, then no rules of politeness work.
In this context, it is surprising that the Americans "came to the Latvian bank", but that they did it so late. Apparently, only now the hands have reached. But many of our Baltic neighbors believed that they would really be allowed to earn a lot and make good money on servicing and "whitewashing" corrupt and investment money from Russia. Naivety is an expensive pleasure, and for it now it is necessary to pay in full. It's even a pity that those Ukrainian politicians who are now also worried about the idea of creating another "Eastern European Switzerland", this time in the Black Sea, will not bring anything useful from the sad experience of their Baltic colleagues.
And we can draw the right conclusions. In addition to the need to combat the illegal export of capital from Russia, which is already happening, including through the cleansing of Russian banks specializing in "transit" and "laundering" operations, it is worth considering the possibility of using the situation on the global market of offshore services to our advantage. In passing, you can turn what the collective West considers to be our problem, into our competitive advantage. Since the Western countries persistently do not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, why not consider the possibility of turning South Ossetia and Abkhazia into "financial havens" for foreign investors who do not want to "shine" with the US Treasury or the British Tax Service?
With due skill, correct legal design and appropriate advertising campaign, it is possible to create "Russian offshore companies" to attract foreign money, which will be transparent only to local and Russian tax authorities and financial regulators. By and large, the US authorities will not even be able to send complaints. A similar status, presupposing complete "opacity" of foreign investment money, could be considered, including for the Crimea, which would make it a magnet for investment.
Russia is not Latvia, and we obviously do not need someone else's permission for such actions: this is one of the bonuses of real Russian independence, which is very different from the mythical Latvian one. If the "Eastern European Switzerland" somewhere will appear, it is most likely in Russia or under its protection.