In the last several years, the local and international public opinion was shocked by the financial crimes involving the Moldovan banking sector. Over 20 billion US Dollars have been laundered through Moldovan banks via EU banks. In the same time, one billion US Dollars was stolen from the National Bank of Moldova currency reserves, with the official pretext to bail out three failing banks, which have gone bankrupt despite the bailout.
These crimes have affected negatively Moldova’s image, partners’ and people’s trust in the country’s institutions, and have caused a massive economic, political, and social crisis.
Almost three years later, we see that the population is not informed how the investigation of these crimes is going, and the authorities avoid, at any cost, communication on this subject.
CPR Moldova tries to maintain this subject in the public discourse and to prevent attempts to reinterpret the facts and their effects on the country.
December 6, 2016
Policy Brief: “Resetting the Moldovan Banking Sector: What can Europe Do and Why?”
As part of the regional project „Monitoring implementation of select reform commitments under EU agreements in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine” implemented with the support of the Soros Foundation-Moldova and the Eurasia Program of the Open Society Foundations, CPR launches the above mentioned policy brief.
In the document, we suggest the EU institutions how these could contribute to moving the investigations, given the visible inaction of Moldova’s national authorities.
The authorities intend a tax amnesty, which CPR, among other NGOs, qualified as a threat to the investigation of the financial crimes. CPR brings their modest contribution to preventing the approval of this initiative.
Experts recommend the European Union to supervise the technical and financial assistance provided to the Republic of Moldova
In the context of the biased way in which the public opinion is informed about the stolen assets, we address the Ministry of Finance with a request to correct the official information presented on the Ministry’s website.
The EU announces that it will not transfer any further funds to the Moldovan state budget to support reforms in the justice sector.
The EU has closely observed the reform process and noted that the Moldovan authorities showed insufficient commitment to reforming the justice sector in 2014 and 2015. With insufficient allocation of funds and personnel, the necessary reforms have not been carried out. As a result, progress has not been sufficient.
This means that the Moldovan authorities have not fulfilled the EU’s conditions for receiving the last financial transfer under the justice reform programme, which amount to EUR 28 million.
Transparency International Moldova and IDIS “Viitorul” presented the Report on monitoring the developments in the financial and banking sector between December 2016 and October 2017.
The report includes the results of the monitoring of recent developments in this sector, following the massive bank frauds in the Republic of Moldova, as well as the results of the monitoring of the recovery of the stolen funds.
Among their conclusions, the authors of the report state that:
“The investigation of bank frauds, especially those admitted in 2014-2015, is deliberately delayed by the authorities. There is an enormous sensitivity, both social and political, in this matter, and the initiation of genuine investigations will catalyze a fair and legal process of accountability of all actors involved in these frauds.”
CPR Moldova publishes a public note refering to the draft law on the decriminalization of economic crimes, elaborated by the Ministry of Justice.
(see the draft law document)
Promoting such a draft law in the current context, when the level of trust of the population in the state institutions is very low, the recovery of the embezzled assets and the process of holding accountable those responsible for the infamous bank fraud stagnate for three years, is more than suspect. While the proposed document includes amendments covering various areas, from environmental issues to the financial and banking sector, it creates the premises for absolving of punishment those responsible for corruption acts.
CPR Moldova considers that in the light of the recent financial crimes we witnessed, the penalties for this type of crimes should be increased, not the other way round:
„The authorities are required to take decisive action in investigating these crimes, providing justice, punishing the guilty and recovering the stolen money. If they want to convince our society and development partners that they have sincere intentions, the authorities of the Republic of Moldova must return to a transparent, open and predictable operational path.”