Russia and Moldova fight for CIS Raider №1

Russia and Moldova fight for CIS Raider №1
Vyacheslav Platon

A businessman and a former member of the Moldovan Parliament has been detained in Ukraine. He stands accused of the largest swindling in the modern history of Moldova. However, Russian law enforcers have their own claims to the accused.

Supposedly, both Russia and Moldova will seek Vyacheslav Platon’s (at home he is called Raider №1 in the CIS) extradition from Ukraine, where he was arrested earlier this week. However, for now Ukrainian law enforcers informed only Moldova about his detention. This was reported by the Acting Prosecutor General of Moldova Eduard Harunzhen. "Prosecutor General's Office was informed via Interpol that on July 25 of this year, Vyacheslav Platon, who had been declared as internationally wanted, was detained in Kiev. Ukraine will consider arresting the detainee, as a form of a preventive measure," local media Publika.md reported, citing the official.

The investigation claims that the citizen of three countries - Russia, Moldova and Ukraine - Vyacheslav Platon is involved in a 1 billion dollars bank fraud. This crime was called "theft of the century" in Moldova.

According to the investigation, starting from 2011, legal entities received unsecured loans that were repaid at the expense of Moldova's Banca de Economii, Kommersant reported. Until the end of 2014, this bank, along with Unibank and Banca Sociala, was the main foothold for transfering 1 billion dollars abroad.

Moreover, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office of Moldova Viorel Morari said that this "theft of the century" is connected with another case, which leads to Russia. The money were transferred from there through Moldovan banks.

Back in 2014, the Head of the Supreme Court of Moldova Mihai Poalelungi described this money-laundering scheme. He claimed that a Russian company, which was willing to launder money, opened an account in a Moldovan bank. Another legal entity filed a petition to the Moldovan court for the recovery of the alleged debt from the Russian company. The defendant was a Moldovan citizen (for this role scammers usually hired an antisocial personality, who did not care to think about the consequences). It was necessary to ensure that the case was considered in Moldova. Besides, the judges were one of the key links of this scheme, they pronounced verdicts with multiple violations, Poalelungi told Kommersant.

The scheme was used in 2010-2013 and it included Russian companies, courts of different regions of Moldova, and Moldovan Moldinconbank (presumably controlled by Vyacheslav Platon).

It is worth noting that the same bank had previously appeared in the case of a major Russian fraudster Alexander Grigoryev. In 2012-2014, his Russky Zemelny Bank (Russian Agrarian Bank) was a leader in suspicious transactions with Moldindconbank. At that time, the bank helped to siphon off about 4.5 billion dollars. In October 2015, Russian law enforcers detained Grigoryev, though as a defendant in another case – the withdrawal of funds from the Doninvest bank.

On Monday, Platon was incriminated with theft from Banca de Economii. He was then declared wanted. According to investigators, he could have been the coordinator of the money withdrawal, and his personal gain amounted to 800 million leu (over 40 thousand dollars).

If Platon is transferred, he will become the second accused in the "theft of the century" case. Since June a businessman Ilan Shor, who is also the husband of a Russian singer Jasmin, is held in the Moldovan jail on similar charges. It was he, who controlled Banca de Economii, Unibank and Banca Sociala.

Russia also intends to bring Platon to justice for organizing a criminal group and fraud (Art. 210 and Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code). A source in the Russian MIA reported this to Kommersant.

In this case, Moscow may request to extradite Vyacheslav Platon, a Russian citizen, to this country.

In the meantime, Ukrainian law enforcers are checking, if Platon committed any crime in Ukraine.

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