Russian police suspect the Moldovan billionaire and leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, of illegally withdrawing 37 billion rubles ($ 0.5 billion) from Russia.
"Citizens of Russia and Moldova created international criminal community in order to carry out large-scale illegal money laundering operations. The organizers of illegal activities are citizens of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Plahotniuc and Veaceslav Platon," reads the statement on the website of the Russian Interior Ministry.
According to the investigation, in 2013-2014, the accused sold foreign currency from their Russian accounts to foreign clients using fictitious documents. Clients then received this money in rubles according to the Moldovan courts’ decision, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs considers to be “false”.
In 2017, Plahotniuc was arrested in absentia in Russia by the decision of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. The Moldovan businessman and politician was accused of attempted murder committed by a group of persons for mercenary reasons, based on political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity (Article 30 and Part Two of Article 105 of the Russian Criminal Code). Plahotniuc was included in the international wanted list.
Platon is behind bars in Moldova. In 2017, a court in Chisinau sentenced him to 18 years in prison for a large-scale fraud and money laundering (Article 190 and 243 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova).