Latvian PM cannot rule out allegations against central bank governor aimed at discrediting authorities

Latvia's Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis holds a joint news conference with Japan's PM Shinzo Abe (not pictured), in Riga, Latvia January 13, 2018. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

RIGA (Reuters) - Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said on Tuesday that he could not rule out the fact that allegations the head of the central bank had solicited a bribe were an attempt to damage the reputation of the state.

Referring to a complaint by the owners of Norvik Bank that the management of the central bank had broken the law, Kucinskis said that evidence should be handed over to the anti-corruption authorities, adding that such evidence had not been handed over yet.

“At least, at the present time, I can not rule out that the relevant bank statement is to be considered only as an attempt to disrupt the reputation of the Latvian state,” Kucinskis said in a statement.

Norvik Bank could not immediately be reached for comment. Central Bank Governor Ilmars Rimsevics denies any wrongdoing.

Reporting by Gederts Gelzis; Writing by Simon Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams