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Latvian city mayor: US scared away all our investors

Aivars Lembergs. Photo: skaties.lv

Aivars Lembergs, the mayor of Ventspils, complains that after Latvian authorities’ decision to reduce the allowed amount of deposits of non-residents in local banks, large investments started leaving the country, mixnews.lv reports.

"How to invest, if you cannot open a bank account here? It's very difficult to work under such conditions. And the decision to check all the non-residents’ money is a big blow to investments. We in Ventspils, for example, have been designing three new buildings for enterprises. Each of them is meant for from seventy to one hundred jobs. It is clear that the main focus is on non-resident investors. We had an agreement with the Kazakhs that they invest 70 million Euros. But after the situation with the ABLV Bank, they said that it is tougher here to work than with Vladimir Vladimirovich (Putin). And so they have refused. This is a very big blow to investors," the mayor said in an interview with Baltkom radio.

According to Lembergs, there is no sense waiting for new investors, for example from the USA. "The amount of American investment is extremely low. They have no state support program. The Americans are flipping some coins. We are not integrated into the military industrial complex of NATO. All we got is just small stuff. Trump demands that they spend more and more on arms and defense, and the main importer is the United States. So he does everything right," Lembergs said.

To recall, in the beginning of the year, the US Finance Ministry has declared that management of the Latvian ABLV bank had used bribery for rendering influence on officials in Latvia. The ministry imposed sanctions on this bank - "for a scheme of money laundering to aid the North Korean nuclear program and illegal actions in Azerbaijan, Russia and Ukraine." On February 26, ABLV bank shareholders had an extraordinary meeting and decided on self-liquidation of the bank.

After that, the State Commission for the Financial and Capital Market decided that the share of non-resident deposits in Latvian banks should decrease from 35% to 5%. This step was explained by the need to "control risks."

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