Latvia will become the second Baltic state to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The country's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it had received an invitation to join the 34-country bloc often described as the rich club.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"Latvia is invited to join the OECD!" Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted.

AFP reports that the invitation follows Latvia's successful crackdown on money laundering in its banking sector which caters to clients from the former Soviet Union.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development had demanded that Riga crack down on graft in its banking sector as a precondition for joining the bloc.

In March, Latvia's financial regulator said it had shut down a bank catering mainly to non-resident clients from the former Soviet Union due to its involvement in money laundering.

Half of Latvia's 26 registered commercial banks cater to foreigners, mostly from Russia and other countries from the former Soviet Union.

Latvian 'boutique banks' have featured in a series of money-laundering scandals including the notorious Magnitsky case in Russia and the theft of one billion dollars from Moldova's state coffers.

Latvia opened membership negotiations with the OECD in October 2013 and concluded the talks this April.

Estonia joined the OECD in 2010, whereas Lithuania was invited to open membership talks last year and expects to be admitted by February 2018 at the latest.

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