Moldova’s government drops plans for controversial fiscal amnesty bill

Moldova’s government drops plans for controversial fiscal amnesty bill
By bne IntelliNews March 1, 2017

The Moldovan government has withdrawn a bill on capital liberalisation and fiscal amnesty, which was broadly seen as aimed at legalising the fortunes accumulated by fraud in recent years. 

Specifically, the bill was seen as an attempt to hide the recipients of the $1bn siphoned off from three Moldovan banks in 2014-2015. This move had the potential to spark mass protests with significant political implications.

A formal request to withdraw the bill has been sent by the executive to parliament, parliament speaker Andrian Candu confirmed to deschide.md.

The decision was announced after an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission’s two-week visit to Chisinau for the first review of the three-year agreement signed with the country last November. The IMF, beside the World Bank and NGOs, has criticised the government’s bill.

Moldova’s so-called capital liberalisation bill breaches the government’s commitments as specified in its three-year agreement with the IMF, the Fund said in a statement quoted by unimedia.info on December 22.

Declared as a bill aimed at “capital liberalisation”, it would have allowed Moldovan residents to declare offshore money by April 15, 2017 without being questioned about the source, if they paid a 2% tax.

Under the bill, public servants would have been allowed to declare hidden wealth by the same deadline with the only obligation being to pay the 2% tax; no further explanation about the source of the money would have been required. The bill was initiated by the pro-EU parliamentary majority, including Candu.

Moldovan NGOs Expert Grup and the Centre for Judicial Resources claimed in December that it was in fact a fiscal amnesty bill and encouraged corruption. NGO experts had particularly expressed concerns about the legal situation concerning the $1bn siphoned off from Moldovan banks once the bill was enacted. 

Candu said on December 21 that the bill, already endorsed in its first reading, would not be enacted until it had been reviewed by the IMF and the World Bank.

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