The European Central Bank said Friday it had requested the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule on the Latvian authorities' treatment of the Baltic nation's central bank chief over graft allegations. Ilmars Rimsevics (pictured above) is a member of the ECB Governing Council.
The ECB asked the top EU court for "a ruling on whether Latvian authorities had breached European law" by suspending Rimsevics from his post and preventing him from attending ECB meetings.
It will be up to the ECJ to clarify "whether individual security measures imposed on the governor have had the effect of relieving him from office and whether these measures comply with EU law," ECB chief Mario Draghi said.
Rimsevics faces allegations that he received bribes of at least €100,000 ($122,000), prompting the Baltic state's central bank to bar him from working on its premises.
Under European law, Latvia's seat on the 25-member ECB Governing Council is held by the central bank chief personally, not the bank itself.
That means unless Rimsevics is definitely removed, the nation will not be represented at regular ECB policy meetings in Frankfurt at all.
Rimsevics himself has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. His lawyers said last month they would challenge the restrictions on his ability to travel and to work with cases at the ECJ and in Latvian courts.
hg/sri (Reuters, AFP)