Russia puts fugitive Moldovan politician Plahotniuc on international wanted list in laundromat case

By bne IntelliNews September 2, 2020

Russian law enforcement officers have completed the investigation into a criminal case on the withdrawal of over RUB500bn (€5.7bn) from the Russian Federation through a Moldovan bank in 2013-2014, and are preparing to take it to court, said the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in a statement. 

Moldova’s former political leader Vlad Plahotniuc (currently in Miami, seeking political asylum), Veaceslav Platon (just released from prison by President Igor Dodon) and Renato Usatii (mayor of the major Moldovan city of Balti and more recently a presidential candidate) were put on the international wanted list after a Russian court ordered their arrest in absentia.

The three and five others were charged with creating, leading and participating in an international criminal community, as well as committing illegal currency transactions.

"All of them [the other five] have been taken into custody as a preventive measure," said official representative of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs Irina Volk, quoted by Interfax.Volk.

According to Volk, during the preliminary investigation it was established that in the period from June 2013 to the end of 2014, the owner of the Moldovan bank Moldindconbank Platon, together with the first vice-chairman and de facto leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova Plahotniuc, as well as Alexander Korkin, who has business ties in the banking sector, developed a mechanism for withdrawing clients' funds from the Russian financial system. 

"To implement their plans, they attracted a native of the Moldavian SSR Renato Usatii, who has a significant financial and political resource in Moldova, the actual owners of a number of Russian banks, Alexander Grigoriev and Oleg Kuzmin, who provided their credit institutions as a tool for committing a crime, the heads of the treasury of banks Rinat Yusupov and Venera Sharipov, as well as lawyers Alexei Sobolev and Lev Pakhomov. They, in cooperation with the director of the treasury of Moldindconbank Elena Platon, using fictitious currency control documents, ensured the daily transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars and euros to the bank accounts of a non-resident — Moldindconbank," said the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

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