The Pro-European Moldova

Mall in Moldova. image from wikipedia

During the country’s previous general-election campaign November 2014, Moldova was hit by a bombshell. A leaked report revealed that up to $1 billion, equivalent to more than one-eighth of the country’s GDP, had been stolen from three banks. It named the 28-year-old Mr Shor, an Israeli-born financier who is one of Moldova’s richest men, as being at the centre of a web of companies connected to the heist. Mr Shor denies any involvement. The government, trying and failing to stave off the banks’ collapse, pumped in money, leaving Moldovans, whose average salary is $200 a month, to foot the bill. According to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a watchdog, the banks were part of a scheme which, in the seven years up to 2014, laundered $20 billion of Russian money using a British shell company and a Latvian bank account.

Although nobody has been convicted of any crime, Moldovans are seething with rage that their political leaders did not see fit to police the banking system better….Under the leadership of the purportedly pro-European parties, Moldova has inched forward on some fronts. It secured visa-free entry to Europe’s passportless Schengen zone and signed a key integration deal with the European Union in 2013. Now the banking scandal has discredited both the politicians and their cause. Igor Botan, an analyst, says they are “blackmailing” Moldovans. “They say, ‘We are pro-European thieves, but if you don’t like us the pro-Russians will come’.”

Excerpt from Moldova on the edge: Small enough to fail, Economist,  Nov. 21, 2015, at 50

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