Finance Minister: There is strong commitment to investigate bank fraud

There is a strong commitment to investigate the $1B bank fraud and try to recover the stolen funds, stated Finance Minister Natalia Gavrilița in an interview with RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service. To achieve this, the Moldovan authorities will ask foreing jurisdictions to help with the investigation.

“We will look to find cost-effective ways of improving the capacities of the Moldovan law enforcement to succeed in this investigation and bring those involved to account through both criminal and civil action. As you already know, Prime Minister Maia Sandu has announced that an office will be established to coordinate the Government’s efforts of recovering the bank fraud money,” said Natalia Gavrilița.

On the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the minister says there is “a very good alignment” between the objectives of the IMF and of the Moldovan Government. The next installment under the agreement will be bigger than initially planned. “We are pleased that we could negotiate for 70% of the amount remaining under the assistance agreement to be accessed now, following the latest review. This means that we can get the biggest part of the money already this year, despite the extension being for the next year,” explained the minister. Moreover, she added, signing the extention for the current IMF program, which was set to expire in November, was a precondition for receiving future assistance from the European Union.

Commenting on the IMF recommendation to address the budget slippages caused by the 2018 tax initiatives and capital & tax amnesty, Natalia Gavrilița said that any corrections should be done with predictability in mind, as changing the tax policy in the middle of the year would be wrong. “At the same time, we should look for measures that can bring in revenue that can keep salaries at the same level and guarantee that they are paid on time. We will not make any major changes to the existing tax policy, but there will be certain corrections to make sure that people who earn more pay more in contributions to the national budget,” said Gavrilița, adding that the corrections to the Budget and the Tax Code will be proposed by the end of July.