JPMorgan, which has been told by U.S. regulators to bolster money-laundering safeguards, has stopped clearing dollar transfers for Latvian lenders, according to the Baltic nation’s banking association.
'JPMorgan was a meaningful partner, no doubt,' Martins Bicevskis, president of the Latvian Commercial Banking Association, said in an interview. 'But that won’t hinder working further and looking for other partners.'
Bloomberg reports that Latvia, a hub for ex-Soviet cash, adopted the euro yesterday, focusing the spotlight on $8bn of non-resident deposits and claims by Global Witness, an anti-corruption campaign group, that regulation and client vetting aren’t adequate. U.S. regulators have reprimanded lenders including JPMorgan for lax controls over transfers that could allow terrorists and drug rings to move money around the world.
The exit of the bank leaves Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank as the only two Western lenders Latvian banks can use for international dollar transfers.
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