20M lei seized in cash smuggling case

A number of people, in particular elderly, were used by an unnamed criminal organization in an attempt to smuggle the equivalent of over 20 million lei into Moldova, prosecutors said. The mules were caught at the Chisinau Airport on Monday after flying in from Moscow via Yerevan and Istanbul.

Customs officers at the Airport became suspicious of the passengers, who carried fairly large amounts of money. The group altogether was carrying over 800,000 lei, however each individual amount was under the €10,000 declaration threshold. Further searches at various other addresses in the country took the total value of the seizure to 20 million lei, Special Cases Chief Prosecutor Victor Furtună told reporters.

In addition to the cash, prosecutors also seized 128 mobile phones and other items “bearing the insignia of a political group that was recently created in Moscow”, Furtună added.

Viorel Cernăuțeanu, head of the Moldovan Police, said each mule was promised from €300 to €500 for their service. Many of them are senior citizens of Moldova, and some of them have agreed to cooperate.  

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