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ISW: Moldovan authorities seize over $1 million linked to Kremlin-backed opposition politicians

24 Apr, 2024
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ISW: Moldovan authorities seize over $1 million linked to Kremlin-backed opposition politicians

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Moldovan authorities confiscated over one million dollars from Kremlin-linked Moldovan opposition politicians at the Chisinau airport on the night of April 22 to 23, and the opposition politicians likely intended to use to bribe protestors and voters. 

Moldovan law enforcement officers conducted over 150 searches mostly at the Chisinau airport and in some personal homes after receiving a tip that opposition politicians who were returning from the April 21 meeting of Moldovan opposition politicians in Moscow, which resulted in the creation of the pro-Russian Moldovan Victory electoral bloc, were smuggling money into Moldova.

Moldovan authorities reported that they confiscated about 62,000 rubles (about $660), 3,000 euros (about $3,200), and over $1.1 million during the searches. The Moldovan General Police Inspectorate Chief Viorel Cernauteau stated on April 23 that the money was meant to finance Moldovan political parties led by affiliates of US-sanctioned, pro-Kremlin Moldovan politician Ilan Shor. Unspecified actors reportedly used “couriers” to transport the money from Russia to Moldova and promised them compensation ranging from 300 to 500 euros (about $320-520). Cernauteau noted that the “couriers” carried under 9,000 euros (about $9,600) of cash to avoid customs laws which require people to declare amounts over 10,000 euros (about $10,700). Shor reportedly paid demonstrators to protest Moldovan President Maia Sandu in 2022, and Moldovan authorities are investigating the Shor Party for bribing voters during the 2023 Gagauzia gubernatorial election.

Moldovan authorities have also detained members of Moldovan parliament who reportedly took bribes from Shor affiliates.[24] ISW previously assessed that the creation of the Victory electoral bloc would allow the Kremlin to focus on a unified political effort as part of its efforts to destabilize Moldovan society, attack Moldova’s democratic government, and prevent Moldova’s accession to the European Union (EU).

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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