Searches Conducted at Moldova's Foreign Ministry Amid Probe into Fugitive Oligarch

Moldovan prosecutors investigate fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor's alleged financing of anti-government protests through illicit funds from Russia, seizing over €1M. This highlights ongoing political tensions and concerns about foreign interference in the country.

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Searches Conducted at Moldova's Foreign Ministry Amid Probe into Fugitive Oligarch

Searches Conducted at Moldova's Foreign Ministry Amid Probe into Fugitive Oligarch

On April 25, 2023, searches were conducted at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Chisinau, Moldova, as part of an ongoing investigation into the activities of fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor and his political bloc 'Victory/Pobeda'. Prosecutors allege that Shor's close ally, the Governor of Gagauzia Evghenia Gutul, was involved in systematically introducing unaccounted financial means from an organized criminal group, mainly from Russia, to finance anti-government protests organized by Shor's party.

During the searches, authorities seized over 1 million euros from Moldovans returning from Moscow, where they had participated in the launch of Shor's new political bloc. Prosecutors claim the money was intended to be used for the illegal financing of Shor's political formations. The interim general prosecutor is examining whether the actions of politicians involved in Shor's bloc were treasonous, as they allegedly threaten the security of the state.

In a related development, Dmitry Konstantinov, the Chairman of the People's Assembly of Moldova's Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, stated that he was stripped of his diplomatic passport after his visit to Russia on April 20. Konstantinov asserted that on April 23, a border security officer informed him that his diplomatic passport was not in the system and confiscated it. He believes the government in Chisinau is behind this decision. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied this information.

Another source from Comrat quoted the head of the General Police Inspectorate, Viorel Cernăuțeanu, who said that on the night of April 23, more than 150 searches were carried out in the country, including of citizens arriving from a 'Shor event' held in Moscow. During these searches, $1.1 million, €3,070, and 62,000 Russian rubles were seized, and 128 mobile phones of alleged couriers were confiscated. The investigations are ongoing, and none of the suspects questioned at the airport have been detained.

Why this matters: The searches at Moldova's Foreign Ministry and the seizure of significant amounts of foreign currency highlight the ongoing political tensions and allegations of foreign interference in the country. The investigation into Ilan Shor and his political bloc's activities raises concerns about the influence of fugitive oligarchs and the potential threat to Moldova's security and stability.

The searches at Moldova's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the confiscation of Dmitry Konstantinov's diplomatic passport underscore the complex political situation in the country, particularly concerning the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia and its relations with Russia. As the investigations continue, the interim general prosecutor's examination of potential treason charges against politicians involved in Shor's bloc could have significant implications for Moldova's political landscape and its efforts to combat corruption and foreign interference.

Key Takeaways

  • Prosecutors allege Shor's ally Gutul involved in financing anti-govt protests
  • Over €1M seized from Moldovans returning from Moscow for Shor's bloc launch
  • Konstantinov stripped of diplomatic passport after Russia visit, gov't denies
  • Searches, seizures of $1.1M, €3,070, 62K rubles linked to 'Shor event' in Moscow
  • Investigations ongoing, potential treason charges against Shor bloc politicians