This Intellinews report on April 18 2016 from earlier this year describes a French tax evasion scheme using a Latvian bank called Rietumu as well as, in general, highlighting Latvian bank usage in money laundering especially for Eastern European/Russian clients. More detail below.
Dermot Desmond’s Shareholding in Latvian Rietumu Bank
Who should turn up as 33.11% owner of Rietumu Banka but Celtic controlling shareholder Dermot Desmond.
Note this is approximately the same as his ownership of Celtic. So Mr Desmond has considerable influence on the strategic & operational direction of Rietumu Bank.
The Wild West of the Irish tax haven financial ‘light-touch’ regulation and it’s contribution to the Global Financial Crisis [GFC] appears not to have been risky enough for the Father of the Irish IFSC [International Financial Securities Centre] in Dublin, Dermot Desmond. If you want to understand Ireland the tax haven, IFSC, the tax haven within the tax haven & Shadow Banking read the 2015 Tax Justice Network article ‘How Ireland became an offshore centre’. The Ireland/IFSC is at the heart of Apple, Google and Facebook’s worldwide tax avoidance.
From Rietumu’s website it highlights Mr Desmond acquiring his shareholding in 2005:
RTE article from 2009 describes Mr Desmond acquisition of his holding in Rietumu Bank:
As stated above Mr Desmond was appointed onto Rietumu’s Supervisory council, ie. Rietumu Banka Board. Increasing evidence of influence and strategic direction as well as applying his considerable financial experience.
From the Wikipedia entry on Rietumu Bank it says:
“Boswell (International) Consulting Limited with 33.11%, whose sole owner is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, Dermot Desmond”
Again from the Rietumu Banka website:
Mr Desmond is just 0.01% less than the highest shareholder. It is highly unlikely he invested with such a high % of interest without a high degree of control of the direction of the bank and markets it targets.
Rietumu Banka Fined in 2015 for breaching Money Laundering regulations by FCMC
From the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission [FCMC] regulator website on Sanctions imposed by FCMC there are two entries Rietumu Banka, the latest, in May 2015, being under the Prevention of Laundering the Proceeds from Criminal Activity (Money Laundering) and of Terrorist Financing. Note this is a different case to the France Offshore case mentioned above:
The second is only a warning:
French Offshore Tax Evasion scam and Rietumu Bank’s involvement
LSM.LV the Latvian Public Broadcaster posted this article last November 2015:
The video by Nadav Bensoussan referred to in the article above is here (en français that’s real French not Swiss English français used by some advertisers). Rietumu part starts at 5:25 :
Looks like the france-offshore.fr website has disappeared. Quelle horreur
Rietumu Recipient of Funds stolen from Russian Hermitage Fund
In 2013 this report on the Russian Magnitsky tax fraud case shows Rietumu was used to distribute the stolen $230 million:
US Treasury Warns Latvia to cleanup its Non-Resident Banks
The Baltic Times reported in February 2016 that Latvia had to stop their banks catering to Non-Residents, which is the market Rietumu targets, from providing services to clients from the former Soviet Union looking to launder money else Treasury would block any USD dealing which have to go through US banks:
Fit and Proper?
The SFA ignored the conflict of interest of Mr Desmond’s ownership of a betting company Betdaq for over 10 years while he controlled Celtic PLC. Will the SFA comment on the above impacting on their Fit & Proper ownership regulations regarding the control of one of its major clubs, Celtic? Or have they still got their heads in the sand over the debacle of the stewarding of the Scottish Cup?
No doubt TheOffshoreGame will play catch-up on this issue. It still has Line Nominees Ltd (Gibraltar) at 20% owning Celtic PLC on it’s Offshore League whereas Mr Desmond’s company has been over 30% for 10 years+.
TheOffshoreGame also at time of posting have made no comments on Twitter or their website on Spanish football corruption involving Real Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia plus the other clubs saved from Administration by local government loans:
Where is the witch hunt, sorry, calls for Sporting Integrity for Financial Fair Play in the Spanish and UEFA competitions?
Well I suppose it took them a year after trying to use footballisfixed to try to attack Rangers under the cover of Footballing Integrity so maybe in a year’s time we’ll see something about Real Madrid and Barca?