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Latvia’s top banking official is accused of demanding bribes

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ILMARS RIMSEVICS, for 17 years the governor of Latvia’s central bank, had been due to retire next year. Instead, he is facing calls to resign. On February 17th Latvia’s anti-corruption authority detained him on suspicion of demanding bribes of at least €100,000 ($123,000). That sparked international concern. Mr Rimsevics is a member of the governing council of the European Central Bank (ECB) and privy to the most sensitive monetary-policy decisions.The prime minister, Maris Kucinskis, says the allegations are so serious that Mr Rimsevics must stand down. But he is staying put. Released on bail on February 19th, the central bank chief says the allegations are a set-up to punish him for cracking down on lax practices. He also says he has received death threats. Latvia’s outsized and ill-regu

Why low returns are inevitable

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WHEN the stockmarket is close to a record high, the chances are that recent returns will have been very strong. The terrible tendency among investors is to assume that those returns will continue. But the higher you go, the harder it is to keep rising at the same pace. When I visited America for a story on pensions last autumn, I was struck by how few people failed to grasp this point. Public pensions have return targets of 7-8% for their portfolios. When challenged they tend to cite their 30-year record of achieving those numbers. But that record makes it less likely, not more that they will hit their targets. The easiest way to think of this is via the bond market. In 1987 the yield on the ten-year Treasury bond was just under 9%. Since then it has fallen to its current level of just und

Latvia’s top banking official has been accused of taking a bribe

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ILMARS RIMSEVICS, governor of Latvia’s central bank for the past 17 years, had been due to retire next year. Instead, he is facing calls to resign. On February 17th he was detained by Latvia’s anti-corruption authority on suspicion of taking a bribe of at least €100,000 ($123,000). The prime minister, Maris Kucinskis, says the allegations are so serious that Mr Rimsevics cannot possibly return to work. Mr Rimsevics, for his part, is staying put. Released on bail on February 19th, he denies the allegations, saying he was set up and is facing death threats.Just a few days earlier, in an unrelated case, the US Treasury had proposed sanctions on ABLV, one of Latvia’s largest banks. It claimed ABLV had “institutionalised money laundering” and facilitated transactions with North Korea, which is