THE head of Latvia’s central bank has said he will not resign following an investigation into suspected bribery.

Ilmars Rimsevics, who is also on the European Central Bank’s top policy-making council, said he had “made a decision not to step down because I am not guilty”.

The chairman of local Latvian bank Norvik, Grigory Guselnikov, said Rimsevics had asked for bribes since 2015.

Rimsevics said “my retreat would allow a man like Guselnikov to triumph”. Rimsevics was detained on Saturday and released two days later on bail.

In response, Guselnikov said: “He [Rimsevics] says that he does not regulate the banking industry, that it is the financial regulator. Then why would commercial banks try to attack him? If he thinks commercial banks are attacking him, he’s admitting that he’s involved in financial regulation.”

Guselnikov claimed that Rimsevics told him that the financial regulator was loyal to him personally, and that he used that to threaten his bank with regulatory measures.

He said his bank “still aims to find a win-win settlement with Latvia” in the arbitration process.

Latvia’s president, prime minister and finance minister have all called on Rimsevics to step down from his post, at least while an investigation is under way.

Only a court can force him to step down, because the central bank is politically independent.