Latvia to freeze assets, bar travel for some Ukrainians

by Reuters
Tuesday, 4 March 2014 15:27 GMT

A cashier holds euro banknotes in Riga January 1, 2014 REUTERS Ints Kalnins

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(Adds Lithuania travel ban)

RIGA, March 4 (Reuters) - Latvia will impose travel restrictions and freeze the assets of Ukrainians linked to human rights violations and corruption, the Latvian government said on Tuesday.

The foreign affairs ministry of fellow Baltic state Lithuania said it was also preparing travel restrictions for 18 Ukrainian officials of the previous administration suspected of human rights abuses and violence against protesters.

The Latvian financial sector supervision authority said that events in the Ukraine had not had a major impact on Latvia's banking system. Ukrainian deposits make up around 100 million euros, or just above 1 percent of total non-resident deposits, which are worth 9.2 billion euros. Latvian banks' exposure to Ukraine is 4 percent of total banking assets.

"Latvia has initiated legal procedures to impose travel restrictions and assets freeze ... against the persons responsible for the mismanagement of Ukraine's public funds and the violations of human rights," the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

Around ten people should be included on Latvia's blacklist, said Karlis Eihenbaums, a spokesman of the ministry. Their names could not be disclosed, he said.

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevicius said Ukraine's ousted leader Viktor Yanukovich would be on its list.

Lithuania and Latvia, former Soviet republics with large ethnic Russian minorities, have criticized what they say is growing Russian meddling in their affairs, from trade wars to jets buzzing their borders. (Reporting by Aija Krutaine; editing by Alistair Scrutton, Ralph Boulton)

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