Irish millionaire buys a chunk of Rietumu Banka

Dermot Desmond, the Irish millionaire whose investments include the Celtic Football Club in Scotland and London City Airport in England, has acquired just under a third interest in Rietumu Banka, Latvia’s fourth-largest financial institution.

Desmond also will join an expanded board of directors, Rietumu Banka announced Aug. 29.

“The bank has a tremendous track record and we share a common vision for the future development of the bank: to be the leading corporate and wealth management bank in the Baltic region and CIS,” Desmond said in a statement released by the bank. “I am impressed by Latvia’s rapid pace of development and by its emergence as a financial centre for the region.”

The investor has acquired a total of 33.1 percent of the bank’s shares by purchasing shares from other investors and from a recent bank offering.

Rietumu Banka was founded in 1992 by American investor Tony Levin, at the time vice president of the Diners Club company. Rietumu merged with Saules Banka in 2001.

The bank at the end of June was ranked fourth in Latvia, with total assets of nearly LVL 708 million.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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