Latvia is a country located in northeastern Europe. Its direct proximity to Belarus and Russia makes it highly vulnerable to the influence of these countries. This is particularly relevant in light of the global sanctions imposed on Russian and Belarusian entities due to the war in Ukraine, which raises concerns about the security of cooperation with Latvian counterparts as well. Before engaging in such cooperation, it is advisable to conduct economic intelligence to verify the credibility of a new business partner. How to check a company from Latvia?
Economic cooperation with Latvia
Since 2004, Latvia has been a member of the European Union, joining the Schengen Area in 2007 and adopting the euro currency in 2014. Strong economic cooperation with Poland is also driven by Latvia’s participation in the Three Seas Initiative, which is an economic partnership of post-communist countries located between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic Seas. Poland has been steadily expanding the scope of cooperation with Latvia, including the establishment of the Poland-Latvia Chamber of Commerce in Riga in June 2022. In January of the same year, the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland signed a declaration to strengthen cooperation in the region.
On the other hand, the Latvian government suspended the economic cooperation agreement with Russia in August of the previous year, as well as the agreement on small border traffic with Russia. Three months earlier, they also suspended the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation. In October, the President of Latvia openly stated that Russian citizens are not welcome in the country.
National and EU sanctions
Due to the military aggression in Ukraine, which began at the end of February 2022, the European Union has imposed numerous sanctions on Belarus and Russia. These sanctions apply to entities, individuals, and legal entities from these countries. The trade of goods and services with Russian and Belarusian companies is prohibited. Polish entrepreneurs who violate these sanctions may face financial penalties of up to PLN 20 million and even up to 15 years of imprisonment. However, Russian and Belarusian businesses have learned to bypass international restrictions by utilizing complex holding structures established in other countries, making it difficult to detect the true ownership structure. How to check a company from Latvia to avoid sanctions?
National and EU information sources
Detailed information about the types of economic transactions prohibited with Belarus and Russia under EU sanctions can be found on the European Council’s website: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/. The Official Journal of the European Union provides a list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014R0269-20220721. The Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration also maintains a current register of entities subject to sanctions, where one can verify a business partner, their affiliations, reasons for inclusion in the register, and the applied sanctions: https://www.gov.pl/web/mswia/lista-osob-i-podmiotow-objetych-sankcjami.
As a first step in checking a company from Latvia, it is advisable to see if it appears in any of the aforementioned registers. Another useful source of information is Council Regulation (EU) 2022/576 of 8 April 2022 amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
Economic intelligence, or how to check a company from Latvia?
Verification of a contractor from Latvia can be entrusted to a professional economic intelligence agency that specializes in conducting such inquiries. A private detective in Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, or other cities will know how to obtain the necessary verifying information about a current or potential business partner.
The most crucial way to verify a contractor and their potential connections with Belarus or Russia is to determine the entity’s ultimate beneficial owner and then check if they are listed on the aforementioned sanctions list maintained by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. This information can be obtained from the Central Register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners maintained by the Minister of Finance: https://crbr.podatki.gov.pl/adcrbr/#/wyszukaj
Direct inquiry to the contractor – How to check a company from Latvia?
In case of difficulties in determining the ownership structure of a business partner through available registers, another method to verify them within the scope of economic intelligence is to directly approach the company and request confirmation of their ultimate beneficial owner. To further validate the response, it is advisable to ask the Latvian business partner to provide supporting documents that confirm their declarations.
A publicly available method to gather information about a business partner is to search online resources. Verify if the company has a website, explore any available opinions or publications about it. You can also request references from other companies that have dealt with the same contractor.
If you prefer not to conduct the research yourself, you can entrust it to a professional research agency specializing in economic intelligence. They have access to various sources of information beyond the internet. For example, you can approach the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Riga and inquire if any complaints have been filed against the specific entity or if the Latvian contractor has a negative reputation based on their knowledge. Polish-Latvian chambers of commerce may also provide similar information.
Registries – How to verify a company from Latvia?
The Ministry of Economics, as the competent authority for economic affairs, maintains a registry of representations of foreign entrepreneurs in the Bulletin of Public Information of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. If we find the representation of our business partner in this registry, we can assume that they still exist and are conducting business.
Another registry where you can check the contractor is the European Union VAT taxpayers register and the EORI register. Companies and individuals intending to engage in commercial activities within the European Union must use an EORI number as their identification number in all customs procedures.
Latvian business registers
How to check a contractor from Latvia? The best way is to use the official Register of Enterprises of the Republic of Latvia (Latvijas Republikas Uzņēmumu reģistrs) at the following address: https://www.ur.gov.lv/lv/registre/. Through this registry, Latvia maintains records of companies, individual entrepreneurs, their branches and representatives, as well as changes related to the founding documents of these entities. The registry also includes entities operating in the media sector, associations and foundations, commercial pledges, controlling packages, marital property agreements and public-private partnership agreements, political parties, arbitration bodies, trade unions, religious organizations and institutions, as well as bankruptcy proceedings. Unfortunately, access to the registry is subject to a fee. Only basic information about legal entities is available free of charge, such as:
- Type, registry number, date of registration and deletion
- Registered address
- Current and previous names
- Beneficiary identification code for the Single Euro Payments Area (if assigned)
- Control of authorized representatives for the respective legal entity
- Field of activity for associations, foundations, and trade unions
Another commercial registry called Lursoft provides an extensive and legally valid database with all companies registered in Latvia, their representatives, and shareholders. The comprehensive database contains information about all companies, associations, and enterprises, as well as foreign representations registered in Latvia. The database is based on original documents from the State Register of Enterprises. It provides information about the managing director of the company, participants (shareholders), registered share capital, and many other parameters related to each company. The database is not updated annually, monthly, or daily, but in real-time. In the registry, you can search by the name or registration number of the company. Registration and an account are required (https://www.lursoft.lv/en/data-bases-of-companies).
You can also check a Latvian contractor through the public database of the Tax Administration, where it is possible to search for individuals or legal entities by name or registration code (https://eds.vid.gov.lv/login/). Additionally, the Latvian Patent Office, located at https://www.lrpv.gov.lv/, allows searching for information about entities in the official gazette (2009-2019) and three databases: patents (Espacenet), trademarks, and industrial designs.
Before conducting a transaction or entering into cooperation with a contractor from Latvia, it is advisable to conduct due diligence and thoroughly check their background, especially to ensure they are not connected to Belarus or Russia. Engaging in business transactions with these countries, while subject to sanctions, can result in significant financial penalties of up to 20 million PLN and imprisonment ranging from 3 to 15 years.
If you need assistance or require more detailed information on how to verify a company from Latvia, please feel free to contact us.