Russian MIA charges Plakhotnyuk with international drug cartel leadership

Russian MIA charges Plakhotnyuk with international drug cartel leadership
Vladimir Plakhotnyuk

He is charged with 28 episodes of smuggling of Moroccan hashish and selling it on a large scale, as well as with leading a criminal community.

The MIA Investigation Department has charged former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova and oligarch Vladimir Plakhotnyuk with leading a criminal community and participating in it (part 1, 2 of Art. 210 of the Russian Criminal Code). As reported by RBC, he is charged with 28 episodes of smuggling of Moroccan hashish and selling it on a large scale.

According to the investigation, in 2012, Plakhotnyuk headed the criminal group of crime lord Oleg Pruteanu nicknamed Borman, the members of which included “other people from among the natives of Moldova and Spain.” It is specified in the case file that representatives of the criminal community led by Plakhotnyuk were also involved in “human trafficking, pimping, contract killings, illegal seizures of banks and enterprises, and embezzlement from the financial and banking system” of Moldova. The investigation believes that Plakhotnyuk used criminal methods of influence against those who opposed him, gained considerable influence in the criminal world, monopolized the country's energy system and media, founded and headed the Democratic Party, thereby gaining significant influence on the government of Moldova, and provided patronage to various criminal organizations for the purpose of personal enrichment.

Plakhotnyuk is reported to have had a meeting with criminal leaders Oleg Pruteanu, Alexander Stegeresku aka Sasha Sportsman and Spanish citizen Manuel Silvio de la Paz aka Lolo. Earlier, Oleg Prutyanu was charged in absentia with the creation of an organized criminal community and participation therein.

According to the investigation, about 50 people have been detained for smuggling Moroccan hashish to Russia since 2013 and more than a ton of the drug has been seized from them. 30 of the smugglers have been convicted, and another 18, including Oleg Pruteanu, were put on the international wanted list. He was detained in Chisinau in 2017.

In February, the Russian Interior Ministry said Plakhotnyuk and businessman Vyacheslav Platon were behind the Moldovan scheme that was used to siphon off more than 37 billion rubles from Russia. Platon was sentenced by the Moldovan court to 18 years in prison for unlawful withdrawal of funds from Russia in April 2017.

In early June, a political crisis in Moldova resulted in the Democratic Party overthrown and Vladimir Plakhotnyuk, its leader, fled the country.

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