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Latvian report Latvian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-12-04 10:34:42
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Latvian bank Krajbanka set to be wound up

Latvian bank Latvijas Krajbanka will likely be wound up, the government said Friday, after the Russian owner of its defunct Lithuanian parent Snoras was detained amid claims of fraud. "The main consideration was whether Snoras bank as the main shareholder was prepared to support Krajbanka," Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters. "Now we know this scenario has been ruled out," he said after a meeting of Latvia's cabinet, banking regulators and law enforcement authorities.

Late Thursday, Lithuania's central bank launched moves to liquidate Snoras. Dombrovskis said his centre-right cabinet would meet again next Monday and that the liquidation of Krajbanka was the "most likely scenario". Nils Usakovs, leader of Latvia's left-leaning opposition, criticised the government. "When Lithuania declared an emergency situation in Snoras bank, Latvian government officials claimed that Krajbanka would not be affected," he said. On Monday, Latvia's regulators had announced they were freezing Krajbanka's operations and taking over its management. The move came after Snoras was put under administration on November 16 amid a fraud probe in Lithuania, a fellow European Union member and former Soviet-ruled republic.

The state has guaranteed deposits of up to 70,000 lats (100,000 Euros, $133,000). Around 150 million lats is available from an existing compensation fund but with the required total set to hit 350 million lats, the remainder will have top come from state coffers via a long-term loan, said treasury spokesman Kaspars Abolins. Savers will be paid via state-owned Citadele bank from Tuesday, with the option to take cash, open a Citadele account or transfer their money to another bank. Since Wednesday, Krajbanka customers have been able to withdraw up to 50 lats per day. From Sunday, all its branches and ATMs will remain closed. Ironcially, Citadele was formed from the wreckage of Parex, once Latvia's largest locally-owned bank, which was nationalised in November 2008 after depositors jittery about a spiralling economic crisis, began pulling out cash. A month later, the government was forced to turn to the EU and International Monetary Fund for a 7.5-billion-euro loan package, paid out in slices in exchange for one Europe's most draconian austerity drives.


Latvian parliament rejects proposal to make Orthodox Christmas public holiday

The Latvian parliament (Saeima) has rejected a proposal by the faction of the Harmony Centre Party, which campaigns for the rights of Russian-speaking community of Latvia, to make January 7 a public holiday.

Under the draft amendments prepared by the Harmony Centre faction to the law titled, "On festive, commemorative and celebrated dates," Christmas should be celebrated in Latvia not only on December 24, 25 and 26, but also on January 7.

A motion to put the bill before the commission for human rights and public affairs was opposed by 45 MPs, favoured by 43, and four abstained. In all, there are 100 members in the Latvian Parliament. For approximately 400,000 people in Latvia, January 7 is an important religious festival because they celebrate Christmas on this day, said the authors of the bill.


Latvians come to Freedom Monument to pay last respects to Imants Kokars

A large crowd gathered at the Freedom Monument in Riga yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to deceased choir conductor Imants Kokars. His funeral service took place yesterday in Riga's Dome Cathedral, and afterwards, a hearse transported the coffin to the monument.
As reported, the legendary Kokars died last Thursday at age 90. Kokars was born on August 16, 1921. In 1956, he graduated from the Latvian State Conservatory's Choir Conductor Department. He began his career as a conductor in 1948, conducting the Cesis Brass Orchestra.
He has been bestowed Latvia's highest honour – the Order of the Three Stars. Kokars was also chief conductor of several Latvian Song and Dance Festivals.

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