“There is no doubt that the current government needs a robust pro-European opposition, but this should be strengthened by non-discredited persons who realize that the so-called successes of the current government are circumstantial, while the mistakes committed primarily in the implementation of the justice sector reform are extremely dangerous, with consequences that can be anticipated with difficulty...”
Definitive conviction of Ilan Shor
On April 13, 2023, the Chisinau Appeals Court convicted Ilan Shor to 15 years in jail. The author of the billion dollar bank fraud in the Moldovan banking system was found guilty of committing the offenses stipulated in the Criminal Code: swindle, punished with 12 years in jail in accordance with Article 190(5); money laundering, punished with six years in jail in accordance with Article 243(3).
Consequently, taking into account the provisions of Article 84 of the Criminal Code, the panel of judges gave a cumulative definitive sentence of 15 years in maximum security prison to Ilan Shor, banning this from holding posts in the banking system for a period of five years. Furthermore, the court ordered to collect about 5.3 billion lei in respect of pecuniary damages from Ilan Shor for the benefit of “Banca de Economii” S.A., which is in the process of liquidation. The decision took effect when it was adopted, but can be challenged in the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova within 30 days of the day the argued decision is presented. This public event was set for May 30, 2023.
The serving of the jail term will start to be calculated when Ilan Shor is arrested by the responsible bodies given that he was held in remand detention and under house arrest for a period of a year, since June 22, 2016 until June 21, 2017. Respectively, the fugitive leader of the opposition in the Republic of Moldova will have to spend 14 years behind bars after he is arrested. So, in about nine years of the public announcement of the bank fraud and in six years of the sentencing by the first court to seven years in jail for the US$1 billion theft, we have a definitive sentence passed against Ilan Shor. It happened despite the multiple attempts to avoid the Moldovan justice that was politically controlled by the oligarchic clan of Vlad Plahotniuc, the transferring of the case from the Chisinau Apples Court to the Cahul Appeals Court and back, the convoking and postponing of tens of hearings, the disguising by culprit Shor as a politician, leader of the Moldovan opposition, who cares for the wellbeing of the people, so as to invoke the political character of the accusations, etc. As they say, the efforts were crowned with success!
Reaction of guests of Shor’s wedding party…
It seems that the news about the definitive conviction of Ilan Shor would generate reactions among the Socialist opposition in the Republic of Moldova, especially because the leader of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), Igor Dodon, several years ago insisted that Ilan Shor - the golden guy of Moldovan politics with whom he had been on friendly terms during many years and whose wedding party he attended - should be jailed for the bank fraud.
The previous accusations made by Igor Dodon against Ilan Shor made the latter to react. He reminded the first of the precious services he offered to him as he financed his election campaigns, evidently illegally, for at least two times, and of his direct corruption. Moreover, Ilan Shor reproached Igor Dodon, after the parliamentary elections of 2019, for the attempt to convert MPs of the Shor Party, warning him that time will come when the Shor Party will give tit for tat. It is curious, but the arguments of Ilan Shor turned out to be convincing and the PSRM and Igor Dodon as head of state had to accept the formation of a parliamentary majority together with the Shor Party. That majority ruled in the Republic of Moldova for over a year, between March 2020 and July 2021, even if it was formalized only on February 11, 2021.
But everything is passing – the quarrels, reconciliations, coalitions, etc. Currently, the Shor Party is engaged in a merciless process of cannibalizing the PSRM, shaking its ranks at all the levels, widely converting MPs and tens of mayors and councilors. It seems that the recent definitive sentencing of Ilan Shor, which was so awaited earlier by the leader of the PSRM, should cause satisfaction and positive reactions in the party to whose administration he returned recently. Indeed, a billion thief, who massively corrupts MPs and mayors of the PSRM, was sentenced definitively... But it wasn’t meant to be. There were absolutely no reactions, at least for now.
The leader of the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova (PCRM), Vladimir Voronin, who was among the guests of Ilan Shor’s wedding party, also refrained from reacting to the news of the definitive sentencing of his pupil. It is not at all an exaggeration to say that the 80-years-old, Vladimir Voronin, became Ilan Shor’s mentor, as he earlier had been to Igor Dodon. The point is the protest movement initiated by the Shor Party in the summer of 2022 had namely Vladimir Voronin as a source of inspiration after this suggested that the movement should be called “New Life”. The name is not at all accidental. It is an allusion to the Bolshevik New Life instituted back in 1905 with the goal of inciting the population to rise. It would be interesting to see the opinion of the supporters of the Communist idea in the Republic of Moldova about the PCRM leader’s suggestion for the billion thief to use the same name and slogans as those used earlier by their Bolshevik idols. In fact, Stalin dealt with the robbing of banks so that Voronin wasn’t wrong when he advised Shor. Anyway, Shor would look weird next to Stalin.
Vladimir Voronin’s initiative took a threatening shape several months later, on October 16, 2022, when the Shor movement announced the creation of the National Salvation Committee (NSC) whose declared goal was to oust the government. So, we can conclude that the Shor movement “New Life” has a declared co-author – Vladimir Voronin, who suggested the give the name – and a hidden co-author – Igor Dodon, who in the 17th congress of December 18, 2021, proposed “unifying all the healthy patriotic forces of society, which are ready to oppose the yellow opposition that was imposed and is supported from outside. In this regard, the PSRM considers it is necessary to create a national protest movement (NPM), which would unite all those who do not agree with the current regime and who are ready to oppose”.
The aforementioned things come to explain why the leaders of the Communist-Socialist coalition didn’t react to the definitive sentencing of the billion thief Ilan Shor. On the contrary, the Communist-Socialist leaders, who were guests of Ilan Shor’s wedding party, have reasons to be concerned. The sentencing of Shor cannot be a good omen, especially for the leader of the PSRM.
Deception of Vlad Filat’s phantom
The sentencing of Ilan Shor generated a strange reaction on the part of Vlad Filat, ex-Premier and ex-leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM). He decided to urge moderation and precaution: “Justice pronounced on the Shor case. President Maia Sandu and all those who speak in a triumphalist way, assuming this decision should stop or they will make this sentence passed by justice look political in character. These political assumptions will be later used in international courts. The politicians should remain in politics, while justice should do justice!”
Practically all the citizens of the Republic of Moldova one way or another became victims of Shor’s swindles. However, Vlad Filat is the main victim who was arrested on October 15, 2015 right inside the Parliament Building and was later sentenced to nine years in jail based on a denouncement made by Ilan Shor, who asserted that he bribed the ex-Premier with US$250 million. They wrote a lot about the friendly relations of ex-Premier Vlad Filat and Ilan Shor, as they did about the conflicts with a duty-free character between the French firm “Le Bridge” and the shops of Ilan Shor, which were mediated with a lot of interest by Vlad Filat. Currently, only the fact that Ilan Shor accused ex-Premier Vlad Filat matters as those accusations caused serious damage to the European integration of the Republic of Moldova, from which the pro-Russian forces benefitted to the maximum.
And now, in the for mentioned circumstances, Vlad Filat behaves as if he is afraid of the definitive sentencing of the one who asserted that he bribed him with US$250 million and such behavior can be interpreted as politically motivated because the representatives of the government express their attitude. What can be said here? This is what can be said:
- firstly, the reaction of President Maia Sandu wasn’t at all triumphalist and was rather sober: “Shor will stay in jail for 15 years for the US$1 billion theft and his property will be confiscated. This was decided today by the Appeals Court. This was requested by us for justice to be done to the people. This was requested by the citizens – for those who rob to return the money and the law to rule”. We see nothing triumphalist here;
- secondly, the current government, including the head of state, have a mandate from the citizens, which was confirmed by their electoral program, to fight corruption and to create conditions for the authors of the billion dollar fraud to be convicted;
- thirdly, there are two European Parliament resolutions dated July 5 and November 14 (see item 21) 2018, which requested the administration of the Republic of Moldova to make all the efforts to investigate the billion dollar fraud;
- fourthly, the next day after Shor was convicted, the spokesperson for the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stated: ” The Chisinau Court of Appeal’s sentencing of pro-Kremlin fugitive Ilan Shor to 15 years in prison for the billion dollar bank fraud in 2014 is a significant step for justice and the fight against corruption”;
- fifthly, if ex-Premier Vlad Filat had really wanted to warn the government about particular mistakes, he could have done it discreetly without warning in public about eventual unfavorable consequences that he actually incited by his public approach.
Finally, we can only guess what interests and eventual arrangements are promoted by the ex-Premier, who had been a victim of Ilan Shor. The problem is Vlad Filat the politician no longer exists, in flesh and blood. This fact was confirmed by him when he said that: “Plahotniuc took my body, while PAS took my soul”. Respectively, without body and soul, Filat is just a phantom. It is curious that this phantom tries to pose as an eventual leader of the opposition to the current government: “We have a very bad situation in our country. I would not like to dramatize, but the current authorities should realize that the country needs a healthy opposition and also objective criticism of the authorities”. How they say in such cases: God save us!
The Chisinau Appeals Court’s decision of April 13, 2023 confirmed a thing known by everyone – the leader of the protesting opposition of the Republic of Moldova, Ilan Shor, is a confirmed swindler. Shor and his party cannot serve as a center for consolidating an antigovernment opposition. The given decision was predictable. That’s why the Shor Party prepared an alternative project – the Movement for People – that is designed to substitute the discredited party with the same supporters of Shor, with the support of the turncoats from the PSRM.
In the aforementioned circumstances, Igor Dodon, who only three days before the definitive sentencing of Ilan Shor returned to the post of leader of the PSRM, pretends to be the leader of the pro-Russian opposition. This is a proof that he has intuition. It is interesting what this intuition suggests to him for the future? Who can be the next politician in the Republic of Moldova, who can be convicted? For example, for the illegal financing of the party and election campaigns with money from abroad or from other obscure sources. Does the leader of the PSRM, Igor Dodon, really believe that he can become a center for consolidating a broad opposition? Only the appearance of Igor Dodon in the public sphere involuntarily evokes the image of the kulyok with presents from Vlad Plahotniuc or, for example, calls like: We will succeed as ours are close! (referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine).
In fact, everything is possible in the Republic of Moldova. Not at all accidentally, ex-Premier Vlad Filat, who by his mishmashes managed to become the main victim of Ilan Shor, destroying simultaneously the European hope of the Republic of Moldova, suggests that the current government needs a healthy opposition, declaring himself to be a leader of this after a protest movement managed with big difficulty to reanimate, after the events of 2015, the citizens’ trust in the European integration of the Republic of Moldova. Moreover, the modest successes of this protest movement had a particular impact on the earlier release of Vlad Filat from jail. So, the body confiscated by Plahotniuc was returned to him and no one owes anything to him.
There is no doubt that the current government needs a robust pro-European opposition, but this should be strengthened by non-discredited persons who realize that the so-called successes of the current government are circumstantial, while the mistakes committed primarily in the implementation of the justice sector reform are extremely dangerous, with consequences that can be anticipated with difficulty.