Latvia fines LPB Bank 2.2 mln euros over anti-money laundering breaches

RIGA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Latvia’s banking watchdog said on Friday it had fined LPB Bank, the fifteenth largest bank in the country by assets, 2.2 million euros ($2.53 million) for breaching anti-money laundering and terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules.

The regulator also ordered LPB Bank, which focuses on servicing non-resident clients, to dismiss one of its board members.

LPB Bank has previously been fined by the regulator for violating AML/CFT rules. The bank could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Our decision is yet another sign that we are closely following how this area in the banking sector has been brought to order,” said the head of the Latvian banking watchdog Peters Putnins in an emailed statement to Reuters today.

A recent report by the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee criticised Latvia heavily for failing to tackle financial crimes.

The report came two months after Latvia’s banking regulator approved the liquidation of ABLV Bank, which U.S. authorities have accused of large-scale money laundering and facilitating the breach of sanctions against North Korea.

Latvia’s central bank governor and European Central Bank governing council member, Ilmars Rimsevics, is awaiting trial on charges he took bribes. He has protested his innocence, dismissing the accusations as a smear campaign. ($1 = 0.8686 euros) (Reporting by Gederts Gelzis; Editing by Simon Johnson and Louise Heavens)