The withdrawal of $1 billion from the banking system of Moldova turned out to be a great shock to the world public and the story is coming to its logical end. The beneficiary party, their accounts and other assets, as well as the schemes of their crime are revealed.
In the early 2016 the information about Vladimir Plahotniuc’s companies withdrawing the funds from Moldova came from the ex-employees of Moldova’s National Anticorruption Center. But the significant breakthrough in the investigation of ‘the robbery of the century’ was achieved only after the foreign experts and law enforcement officials joined the case.
According to the inquiry of the international company Kroll, formed by the former veterans of the public prosecution bodies, police, FBI and NSA, with the experience in solving crimes where high officials are involved, it became possible to sensitize the government agencies of Europe and America. At the moment the process of arresting Plahotniuc’s luxury mansion on the lakeside of Lake Geneva near the city of Sciez in France, is underway. Moreover, the rest of Plahotniuc’s and his accomplice and Moldavian millionaire Ilan Shor’s external assets will be also arrested.
Plahotniuc, on his part, tries to neutralize all eyewitnesses of his ‘robbery of the century’ crime with the help of Moldova’s low enforcement agencies that stay under his control.
This way, right after the beginning of cooperation with the crime investigation team and proving the evidences against Plahotniuc and Shor, the criminal cases were initiated against the former Moldavian official Sergiu Cibotari, activists of the Red Bloc opposition party and its leader Gregory Petrenko and businessman Veaceslav Platon. The actions of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova and the Supreme Court of Justice of Moldova prevent the testimony and legal investigation of the $1 billion crime.
It is worth noting that Plahotniuc’s and Shor’s attempts to interfere in the investigation turned both the witnesses and lawyers into defendants. Among them Anna Ursaki, a lawyer, previously repeatedly took the high-profile cases of Plahotniuc’s partners and also gave protection to the politicians and businessmen who had crossed Plahotniuc’s path. On the 3rd of November 2016 Uraski appeared on the list and became the object of discredit. The Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova suspects her to have implication in a murder of a woman that took place 19 years ago. As the result of illegal search of Anna Ursaki’s residence, during her absence on 21 of November 2016, a computer, notebook and two tablets were seized in an attempt to find Plahotniuc’s case evidences in her possession. According to Ursaki, there were no clues, but the information about the details of search ‘not being disclosed in the interests of investigation’ emerged in the media just a few hours later after the end of search. And now giving publicity to the conversations between politicians, businessmen and activists with Ursaki on the ‘robbery of the century’ case could be another lever of pressure on the witnesses.
Certainly, the mentioned violations couldn’t go under the radar of the international authorities. The Amnesty International and the Open Dialog Foundation initiated their own investigations on the violation of human rights. Germany’s ambassador to Moldova Ulrike Knotz, Bundestag deputy Frank Schwabe, deputy of Polish Sejm Kornelia Wróblewska, as well as some other members of the Bundestag and Europarliament, in the letter to their Moldavian counterparts expressed their deep concern about placing pressure on the witnesses and activists. As the result, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the 25 of January 2017 accepted the declaration No. 623 which says that ‘Politically motivated trials were initiated against Vyacheslav Platon-Kobalyev, a key witness in the case against Plahotniuc on charges of embezzlement of $1 billion from reserves of the Moldova’s National Bank; or Sergiu Cibotari, an ex-employee of the Post of Moldova and a key witness in a criminal case against Plahotniuc’s allies. We hereby call on the Moldovan authorities to immediately stop the reprisals, and remind that human rights and democracy situation in Moldova is closely monitored by the Council of Europe.’
It means that lawlessness in Moldova passed the point of no return in the case of $1 stolen billion. In spite of efforts of the Moldavian corruptionists, the guilty verdict and imposition of sentence for Plahotniuc is just a matter of time. And ignoring the representatives of international institutions and connivance of the Moldavian authorities towards state departments that help the participants of ‘the robbery of the century’ to avoid responsibility, shows their high corruptness and the real results of anticorruption, judicial and law reforms critical for Moldavia to join the EU.