Former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova and businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is hiding abroad from criminal prosecution, became a defendant in another criminal case. He is suspected of illegal enrichment, informs Prosecutor General’s Office of Moldova.
“According to the preliminary investigation, the suspect received movable property (including a luxury yacht) and real estate in countries such as Switzerland, Romania, Spain during his tenure as a member of the Moldovan parliament,” the statement said.
A new criminal case against Plahotniuc was initiated on the basis of a statement by the Information and Security Service, the supervisory authority added.
On November 15, the Constitutional Court of Moldova upheld the decision to seize Plahotniuc’s property. “The property and bank accounts of the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who was put on the international wanted list by Moldovan law enforcement officers in June 2019, estimated at 486 million lei (about 23 million euros), will remain under the sequestration imposed by the Agency for the Recovery of Criminal Assets (ARBI),” says in the agency’s message that leads Interfax.
In total, 52 objects are under arrest, including 11 cars, 11 buildings, five sums forming the share capital, 17 apartments and non-residential premises, as well as four bank accounts. In Moldova, 41 objects were seized, 7 in Switzerland, 3 in Romania and 1 in France.
Plahotniuc fled Moldova on June 14, 2019 after the change of power: then the government created by the Democratic Party announced about his resignation. The oligarch was first in Switzerland, then in Miami. The Moldovan authorities sent a request to the United States for his extradition in order to bring the oligarch to justice, but were refused. Then, the American ambassador to Moldova, Derek Hogan, said that Plahotniuc voluntarily left the United States on August 28, 2020 after he and his family members were banned from entering the country.
Plahotniuc ended up in Turkey and, according to media reports, became a citizen of this country under the Citizenship for Investment program. At the same time, it is known that Turkish law prohibits the extradition of Turkish citizens to foreign countries. Plahotniuc is now believed to be hiding in North Cyprus.
In mid-May 2020, Prosecutor General of Moldova Alexander Stoyanoglo said that Plahotniuc was the main beneficiary of the theft of $ 1 billion from the country’s banking system. A criminal case was opened against him on three counts: the creation of an organized criminal group, extortion and large-scale fraud. On the basis of these charges, the court decided to arrest Plahotniuc in absentia.
In Russia, several criminal cases have also been initiated against Plahotniuc. He is suspected of leading an international drug syndicate, as well as organizing the withdrawal of 37 billion rubles from the Russian Federation. The Tverskoy District Court of Moscow arrested the Moldovan oligarch in absentia by a decision of July 29, 2019.
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