20 criminal cases following searches involving judges

Twenty criminal cases were started as a result of the searches carried out during the last two days at offices and homes and in the cars of judges and bailiffs. The judges are suspected of being involved in laundering US$20 billion from Russia through the legal system of Moldova. The information was presented in a press briefing on September 21, IPN reports.

Head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office Viorel Morari said that 16 criminal cases were started over complicity to money laundering against 16 judges of different courts of law and ex-judges. There were also started four criminal cases over similar offenses against four bailiffs. These face five to ten years in jail.

Explaining the applied scheme, Viorel Morari said that at the first stage, two offshore companies signed a lending agreement, for example, to the value of US$250 million. At the second stage, these companies, represented by Ukrainian citizens, signed a guarantee contract, with a Moldovan usually from socially deprived categories so as that this could not be easily identified serving as a guarantor. At the third stage, the Moldovan guarantor apparently identified four Russian companies that accepted to repay the debt if the contract conditions were not respected by the debtor. At the fourth stage, the obligations were not fulfilled and the creditor went to court in the country where the guarantor had the domicile, respectively the Republic of Moldova. As a result, the court accepted the application and the offshore company, using the services of bailiffs, collected the overdue money from the accounts of the Russian companies through the agency of Moldindconbank, based on court orders. Afterward, the money transferred to the account of the bailiff was transmitted to the lending company represented by Ukrainian citizens.

Viorel Morari also said that in 2014 the prosecutor’s office was notified by the Supreme Court of Justice and a criminal case over money laundering in considerable amounts was started then. The materials of this case served as a reason for starting criminal cases against the judges. The investigation lasts because it is a complex scheme.

The head of the National Anticorruption Center’s Bogdan Zumbreanu said that over 50 searches were performed at offices and homes and in the cars of current and former judges and bailiffs. There were seized a number of documents, including information on memory sticks. The 18 persons, including 15 judges and three bailiffs, were arrested for 72 hours.

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