March 21, 2018 / 10:10 AM / a year ago

Latvian PM says to ban bank deals with shell companies

RIGA, March 21 (Reuters) - Latvia will put forward legislation forbidding banks to deal with shell companies, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said on Wednesday, following demands by U.S. authorities for the Baltic country to act on alleged money laundering.

"We have agreed today about the prohibition of shell companies in Latvia, by establishing a timetable that the government will consider on April 3," Kucinskis told a news conference.

If the legislation was passed as planned in early April, the law could come into force some time in May, he added.

Latvia has more than 10 banks that take deposits from customers in Russia and other fellow ex-Soviet states which often use shell companies in their business dealings.

That has led the United States and others to accuse euro zone member Latvia of allowing money laundering. Washington has issued repeated warnings to Latvia to reform. (Reporting by Gederts Gelzis, additional reporting by Johan Ahlander and Niklas Pollard in Stockholm)

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