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This is how Prime Minister Filip helped the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant escape Ukraine’s sanctions // RISE Moldova

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Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip helped one of the budget-forming enterprises of self-proclaimed Transnistria, MMZ (Ribnita Metallurgical Plant), to come out from under the sanctions of Ukraine.

A copy of the letter came to the disposal of the editorial offices of RISE Moldova and the Radio Svoboda, in which the head of the Moldovan government demanded from the Ukrainian leadership not only the lifting of the embargo but also the termination of the investigation regarding the plant.

Even during the duration of the sanctions, Ukrainian exporters of scrap, with the help of Chisinau intermediaries, managed to bypass the embargo on supplies for MMZ for about a year. Read more on the case here.

Photo: Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko reached mutual compromise // Photo: press service of the President of Ukraine

Moldova, PM Filip requested the reduction, twice, of export taxes applied to this undertaking, arguing that they would be an administrative barrier.

In addition, he requested the cessation of the anti-dumping investigation against the plant as unfounded and the suspension of the individual licensing regime until the final court decision.

Just 10 days after PM Filip’s letter was sent, the Kiev authorities excluded the Metallurgical Plant from the list of entities subject to sanctions.

Instead, they included a company in Chisinau (Novastal Prim SRL) on the list, which has last year interfered with the import of scrap metal from Ukraine to the Metallurgical Plant, thereby circumventing the sanction regime imposed by Kiev.

Asked if he had signed such a letter, Pavel Filip ran away from the press.

“We’ll talk some other time,” he said briefly.

The Scheme with the Ribnita Metallurgical Plant (MMZ) and Pavel Filip’s blending in with its sanctions shows how well the international oligarchic regional (Gusan-Poroshenko-Plahotniuc) operates across national borders.

Let’s sum it all up:

The case with the MMZ is similar to other past practices of schemes such as controlling Transnistrian electricity exports to Moldova (and dividing the profits between the three oligarchs).

In 2018, Poroshenko puts MMZ under sanctions, clearly only four years away from Euromaidan and a few years of war in eastern Ukraine. His Moldovan partner, oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc, creates a local tick (Novastal Prim SRL) that “legally” takes over the Ukrainian waste metal streams to Transnistria and through which the three oligarchs share the profit.

In the coming March 2019, Poroshenko realizes he could lose the elections and bring the business back to the legal field, which means that he would have to exclude Novastal Prim SRL from the scheme.

Poroshenko has, in fact, come out clean. He was self-indicted by the Moldovan Prime Minister, the one making the request.

President of Ukraine and Prime Minister of Moldova at the opening of a joint checkpoint at the Transnistrian segment of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border // Photo: Press Service of the Government of Moldova

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Dumitru Alaiba: Vlad Plahotniuc has a Czech nationality as well?

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Deputy of the ‘ACUM’ bloc Dumitru Alaiba wonders whether the former DPM leader and oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc is Czech citizen. He recently posted an extract from what appears to be a document saying this:

According to the deputy, on June 4, Plahotniuc tried to open a new company in the UK.

“It seems that Vladimir Plahotniuc, before being taken down from the government, was busy with business development. On June 4, 2019, he was trying to open a new company in the UK – with a Czech passport. There’s nothing illegal, of course. It’s just that I didn’t know about it” wrote Alaiba on his personal blog.

The deputy urged Moldovan diaspora in London to visit the address from the document, in case they are in the area.

Read more: Vlad Plahotniuc made good use of his passport long before he became a political man

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The Kroll 2 Report: 77 of Ilan Shor’s companies received $2,900,000,000 in loans

Kroll was contracted by the National Bank of Moldova on January 28, 2015, in order to investigate money laundering frauds in three banks: Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank. The amount of the contract was not made public. The Kroll 2 report, published by the parliamentary investigation commission on bank fraud, spans 154 pages. However more details, such as company or person names, have been deleted.

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At the same time, the report does not contain the list of beneficiaries of bank fraud. Kroll 2 presents the schemes where bad loans were offered, but also how these funds have later circulated. The report contains the list of the 77 companies within the URB group, as well as the loans they have taken from the Moldovan banks.

In interviews, they were experts at Kroll with employees at Banca de Economii, and it was found that many relevant materials related to loans offered to Ilan Shor’s group were destroyed in suspicious circumstances of a fire in late November 2014.

The report states that between 1 January 2012 and 26 November 2014, the Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank offered $2.9 billion in loans to companies in the Shor Group.

Money earned on loans was redirected to foreign accounts in the Latvian banks ABVL and Privatbank, through which they were laundered. These accounts appear to be open only for this purpose because they did not record any other transactions.

Another part of the loans was transferred to the bank accounts of the Republic of Moldova, Russia, but also other jurisdictions.

The loans went through a coordinated money-laundering process and then disappeared into several bank accounts.

Part of the loans offered to the companies in the Shor group remained in Moldova. The tracking of the initial destination of the funds showed that the amounts remained in the accounts held at the three banks or were transferred to other banks in Moldova to pay for other loans. At the same time, more money was mixed with other funds, so it was impossible to track them later.

Out of the 2.9 billion US dollars, Kroll points out that about 220 million US dollars remained in the Republic of Moldova and were used to repay loans from the Banca Sociala, Banca de Economii and Unibank, and other banks.

The full Kroll 2 report can be read here:

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2019 UN World Population Prospects: Moldova is expected to lose around 17% of its population by 2050

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The latest, 2019 UN World Population Prospects report that Moldova is one of the 10 European countries (besides Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania) that experienced both a negative natural increase and negative net migration rate during 2010-2019. Surprisingly enough, the UN prospects highlight that Moldova is also one of the 27 countries that have experienced a population decrease of at least 1% since 2010.

Accordingly, compared with countries like Lithuania, Bulgaria, and Latvia, Moldova is expected to lose around 17% of its population by 2050.

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