March 10, 2018 / 1:29 PM / 13 days ago

Court rules Latvian bank ABLV may keep Luxembourg branch

    LUXEMBOURG, March 10 (Reuters) - Latvia's ABLV Bank, accused
by U.S. authorities of large-scale money laundering, will be
allowed to look for new investors for its Luxembourg branch
after a court there ruled against forced liquidation by EU
authorities, the bank said.
    The decision comes after the European Union's Single
Resolution Board and the European Central Bank (ECB) said last
month ABLV was failing and would be wound up.            
    It followed allegations by U.S. authorities Latvia's
third-biggest bank had covered up money laundering, bribed
officials and facilitated the breach of sanctions against North
Korea. ABLV has denied wrongdoing. 
    The accusations effectively froze the bank out of U.S.
dollar financial markets, prompting its closure and hurting some
local peers.
    But the Luxembourg court on Friday rejected a request from
the financial regulator -- Commission de Surveillance du Secteur
Financier (CSSF) -- to liquidate ABLV's Luxembourg branch, the
court said in a statement.
    The CSSF had been made a temporary administrator of the
bank. The court said it appointed two new administrators on
    ABLV said its Luxembourg branch had a strong financial
standing, which was recognised by the court, and it would now
look for new investors.
    "The court has appointed two external administrators which
will work at the bank during the following six months until the
bank finds new investors," the bank said in a statement late on
    It was "very satisfied that the soundness of the Luxembourg
entity has been recognised", it added.
    ABLV could not be immediately reached for further comments.

 (Reporting by Michele Sinner
writing by Alissa de Carbonnel
editing by Clelia Oziel)
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