Veaceslav Negruța: The essence of banking fraud was the withdrawal of 14 billion lei from the NBM

The essence of the fraud called the "theft of the billion" was the withdrawal of 14 billion lei from the National Bank under the pretext of covering the means that have vanished from the commercial banks. This was done through the Government’s granting of state guarantees. Also, the first tranche of guarantees, the largest, amounting to 9.5 billion lei, did not reach the individuals who had deposits in the three looted commercial banks, but other banks and financial institutions. The explanations belong to Moldova Transparency International expert Veaceslav Negruța, former finance minister, and were made on "Black Box" TV show on TV8, IPN reports.

According to him, the amount of money held by depositors in banks was much smaller than the amounts for which the Government took responsibility. “Individuals were not targeted by those 9.5 billion lei, granted as state guarantee by the Government. The money has gone to other destinations such as banks, financial institutions or other things that have happened”, added the expert.

Furthermore, Veaceslav Negruța specified that prior to the Government's decision to allocate the 9.5 billion to bail out the banks, Banca de Economii (the Savings Bank) (BEM), in fact, was full of liquid assets, and after that decision, the BEM money was transferred to Banca Sociala (the Social Bank) (BS). "Later, the money from BS went further to an exotic company. That is the point. In fact, money was taken from the National Bank to help out banks that had no problems. BEM did not have any liquidity issue. The liquid funds from the BEM, subsequently, after this decision, migrated to BS. This is a subject for investigation and research and in this sense the Kroll company offers sufficient information, based on selective data, carefully selected by the National Bank”, says Veaceslav Negruță.

According to him, the conclusions of the Kroll company are that a certain group of people took over three banks, one by one, after which certain means were placed in the BEM, and after the Government's decision to grant the state guarantees, this money disappeared from Banca de Economii.

Veaceslav Negruța believes that the report of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Fraud is very important and prosecutors should conduct investigations based on this document. "This document is a crucial one and is an opportunity for prosecutors to straighten things up and clarify who, where, and how to recover the money," said the expert.

Also, Veaceslav Negruța has mentioned that the money that was extracted from the Republic of Moldova at a certain stage, is gradually, partially returning to the country.

Dumitru Alaiba, PAS group, ACUM bloc, MP, a member of the parliamentary committee of inquiry, is of the opinion that the prosecutors will have to investigate the stage where it was decided where the money from the government guarantees would go and who made the decision. The parliamentarian acknowledged that since the report of the Parliamentary Committee on the Investigation of the Banking Fraud, not much has been done and the Prosecutor's Office did not respond, as expected, to the recommendations made in the report. Also, Dumitru Alaiba says that the ACUM bloc will not give up on this subject and will put pressure on prosecutors to make headway in the investigation of the banking fraud.

On November 13, 2019, 5 years have passed since the first granting of state guarantees amounting to 9.5 billion lei, decided on by the Government led then by Iurie Leancă, followed by another, in the amount of over 4 billion lei, decided on by the Government headed by Chiril Gaburici. Officially, they were meant for covering the hole produced by the looting of the country's banking system of over 13 billion lei, equivalent to 1 billion US dollars at the time. The banking fraud was first made public right after the 2014 parliamentary elections. Subsequently, the National Bank hired Kroll international company to investigate the fraud, which issued two reports on the case. For five years, the law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova have not advanced in the investigation of the fraud.