June 17 (Reuters) – Latvia’s Rietumu Banka was fined 5.85 million euros ($ 6.96 million) for failing to screen and monitor its customers over money laundering money and terrorist financing, the country’s banking watchdog announced Thursday.
The fine imposed on the bank, which primarily serves non-resident customers, is the result of inspections in 2019 and 2020, the watchdog said.
Rietumu could not be reached for comment outside of regular business hours.
Latvian news agency LETA reported on Thursday that representatives of Rietumu had said they would give a response after they had time to review the regulator’s decision.
“These were minor errors and flaws, so we are very surprised at the amount of the fine,” the bank’s representatives told LETA.
There has been a series of corruption and money laundering scandals in Latvia, where many financial institutions have presented themselves as a gateway to Western markets for clients from former Soviet states.
Latvia closed its third ABLV bank in 2018 after US authorities accused it of money laundering and US sanctions violations, plunging the country into its worst financial crisis in a decade.
$ 1 = 0.8408 euros Report by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius. Editing by Jane Merriman