Moldova authorities confiscate 64% of country’s second largest-bank

By bne IntelliNews January 30, 2018

Moldova’s financial markets supervisory body CNPF has taken control of a 64% stake in the country’s second-largest bank Moldindconbank (MICB), previously controlled by non-transparent shareholders, with a view to selling it to a single investor, Mold Street said on January 30. Shareholders had been given the chance to find a buyer for their shares themselves, but all their attempts failed.

CNPF has already taken similar steps in regard to a 41% stake in the country’s largest bank, Agroindbank (MAIB), but it has failed so far to find an investor. Loopholes in Moldova’s legislation, besides the involvement of Moldovan judges in the laundering of $20bn from Russian banks, generate serious problems when it comes to the authorities’ efforts to restore a functioning banking system by attracting credible foreign investors.

As an option for such cases, the government is mulling endorsing a controversial bill allowing for temporary state ownership in such strategic banks.

MICB, previously involved in the laundering of some $20bn of Russian money, was reportedly controlled by Veaceslav Platon who accused the ruling coalition’s leader and country’s number one oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc of exerting pressure in order to take control. Platon was reportedly behind Agroindbank as well, according to unconfirmed rumours. A situation in which Plahotniuc is eyeing major stakes in the country’s largest banks could explain the lack of prospective investors.

MICB shareholders operating in an undeclared coordinated manner were spotted by the central bank in October 2016 and were ordered to sell their stakes.

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