ILMARS RIMSEVICS, for 17 years the governor of Latvia’s central bank, had been due to retire next year. Instead, he is facing calls to resign. On February 17th Latvia’s anti-corruption authority detained him on suspicion of demanding bribes of at least €100,000 ($123,000). That sparked international concern. Mr Rimsevics is a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) and privy to the most sensitive monetary-policy decisions.
The prime minister, Maris Kucinskis, says the allegations are so serious that Mr Rimsevics must stand down. But he is staying put. Released on bail on February 19th, the central bank chief says the allegations are a set-up to punish him for cracking down on lax practices. He also says he has received death threats.
Latvia’s outsized and ill-regulated offshore banking industry has been a headache since the country regained independence in 1991. During the global financial crisis ten years ago, Parex Bank, the largest...Continue reading