The problems in the financial sector, in general, and in the banking sector, in particular, accumulated in time regardless of the regimes and parties that ruled the country. The banking sector in the Republic of Moldova is the element that made possible the transformation of the country into a regional laundry of financial resources of dubious origin starting with 2005, says a digest produced by Transparency International – Moldova with the assistance of experts, IPN reports.
The digest says this sector was used to steal money from the foreign exchange reserves of the National Bank of Moldova in 2014 by the ‘theft of the billions”, by later converting the debts and gaps into state debts. This generated major risks to the security of the state and financial system and of the people apart. These risks are caused by the transiting and withdrawal of financial resources of the Republic of Moldova, of people who work, including abroad, and their placing in offshore areas, in risky, secondary commercial banks, in a jurisdiction under the effect of international sanctions.
The recent developments in the financial-banking sector reveal two distinct stages in the erosion of the sector’s security, which became intercalated at a particular moment. The digest authors say this is the period between 2005 and 2014, which was characterized by the laundering of money of illegal and dubious origin from the region through the national banking system, with the help of the legal system and under the protection and guidance of those who are in power.
The second stage is the period between 2014 and 2016, when billions of lei was stolen from the banking system, including the National Bank of Moldova, by converting the created gaps into state debt that was made the burden of the ordinary people, the theft being planned and committed by groups of interests with the participation of representatives of political elites, in conditions of captivity of state institutions and their vulnerable and blackmailable managers.
According to the experts, the case of the BEM, which was mainly owned by the state, is a clear example of raider attack, stealing and de-capitalization staged by several groups of interests that intensified in 2011 by a raider attack on a part of the shares so as to become BEM shareholders. Banca de Economii had been periodically controlled by the state, while in particular periods by groups of interests that non-trenchantly became BEM shareholders owing to the inaction and tacit approval of state institutions, including the National Bank. The BEM was attacked with the aim of depriving the state of the majority shareholding in two stages that were orchestrated in different ways.
The experts consider the banking sector is controlled by several groups of interests, which generate additional risks. The lack of transparency as regards final beneficiaries, presence of affiliated persons in the bank’s portfolios and bad loans as a result are evident. It is not only about the banks that are being liquidated. Such conclusions also derive from the events of 2014, when three banks reached a ‘deplorable’ state as a result of similar scenarios planned in a coordinated way.
According to the experts, the risk of contamination of the financial system persists. Several other financial institutions, including from the insurance and leasing sectors and savings and loan associations, can form part of the same scenario in the future. The money entrusted by the people to these entities is in danger mainly owing to the complicity between the state authorities and different groups of interests that manage the financial flows in the Republic of Moldova.