“Even if it were true, what is our choice? Do we really want to base our economy on criminal money? Do we really see it as our future? But in any case, it is not true,” Znotina said.
She said that she wanted to see what was behind the rumors or allegations that due to too strict control of financial flows, no investments were coming to Latvia. The head of the FID referred to the data of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency that since 2017, the amount of direct investment in Latvia has increased by two billion euros, which in her opinion is a “very serious and significant increase”.
Znotina emphasized that the state budget and gross domestic product did not receive anything from the billions of money of unclear origin that had “walked back and forth” through the accounts of Latvian commercial banks during many previous years. “Serious and good money, institutional investments come and look only for places that are stable and legal, and our investors who are currently entering Latvia are exactly those with whom we want to shape our future,” said the head of FID.
At the same time, she did not deny that in trying to implement all the requirements of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (“Moneyval”) at high speed, many things were done, possibly in the eyes of one bank employee looks a bit exaggerated. “It must be acknowledged, yes, and it must be corrected, and now we are working on it,” said Znotina.
As reported, several officials have recently publicly expressed concerns about Latvia’s strict financial security requirements for foreign investors. Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks (AP), for example, said that Latvia’s excessive fight against money laundering has hampered the fulfillment of tasks included in the national defense concept and the development of a sustainable defense industry is under attack.