C.banker immunity not valid for conduct outside official capacity - EU court

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 11/30/21 04:36 AM EST

BRUSSELS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The European Union's top court ruled on Tuesday that Latvia's former central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics, 54, does not enjoy immunity from charges of corruption offences he allegedly committed while in office.

"Where a criminal authority finds that the conduct investigated by it of a governor of a central bank of a Member State was manifestly not committed by that governor in his or her official capacity, proceedings against him or her may be continued since immunity from legal proceedings does not apply," the court said.

Rimsevics's term at Latvia's central bank ended in 2019, but he was charged by the country's public prosecutor in June 2018 for having accepted two bribes in connection with a procedure relating to prudential supervision of a Latvian bank and for having laundered the money from one of those bribes.

Because Latvia is a member of the eurozone and its central bank part of the European Central Bank, a district court in Riga asked the EU court if the central banker had immunity from legal steps in respect of all acts performed in his official capacity.

"Acts of fraud, corruption or money laundering are ... not carried out by such a governor in his or her official capacity," the court said in a statement. (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Ed Osmond)

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