Moldovan politician and businessman Vyacheslav Platon was sentenced in Russia in absentia to 20 years in a strict regime colony for illegal withdrawal of over 126 billion rubles. The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation is investigating a series of criminal cases against the defendants in the “Moldovan scheme”.
The judge of the Tverskoy District Court, Olga Zatomskaya, has been considering the Platon case in absentia since December 2021. She found the Moldovan businessman guilty of committing crimes under Part 1 of Art. 210 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of a criminal community) and paragraphs. “a”, “b” part 3 of article 193.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (currency transactions for the transfer of funds in foreign currency to the accounts of non-residents using false documents). In addition, according to the verdict, Platon was fined 2.5 million rubles. and restriction of freedom after serving a sentence of 1.5 years.
The investigation and the court found that since June 2013 in Moscow and Chisinau, the owner of JSC CB Moldindconbank, Platon, created a criminal community together with Vladimir Plahotniuc, who at one time was a member of the Moldovan Parliament and headed the Democratic Party, and banker Alexander Korkin. From June 2013 to May 2014, the participants of the organized criminal activity, on false grounds, made transactions for 126 billion rubles. on the transfer of funds in foreign currency from the correspondent accounts of a number of Russian credit institutions, the heads of which were members of the community, to the accounts of Platon’s bank. During the process, a representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation stated that the guilt of the Moldovan businessman was fully proven.
Zatomskaya also turned Plato’s property in Russia into state income.
His lawyer Marina Granovskaya told Vedomosti that she would definitely appeal the verdict. The defender declined to comment further.
As part of this case, in March 2021, Platon’s sister, Elena Platon, was sentenced to 10 years in a penal colony.
Laundromat is the largest money laundering scheme through the Moldovan bank Moldindconbank SA The scheme for withdrawing funds abroad using enforcement orders became popular in 2011-2014. Then Russian companies transferred money to shell companies in Moldova. Thus, about $20 billion was withdrawn from Russia.
The second organizer of the scheme, Plahotniuc, was arrested in Russia in absentia three times on various criminal cases, including the illegal withdrawal of funds abroad, the creation of a drug syndicate and the preparation of the murder of Moldovan politician Renato Usatii. For example, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation reported that in the period from 2012 to 2019, more than 60 members of the drug syndicate were identified and prosecuted as part of the special operation “Pyrenean Break”, and more than 1 ton of hashish was seized from illicit trafficking.
Plahotniuc is considered one of the richest people in Moldova. On July 18, 2023, in Plahotniuc’s homeland, a case was brought to court on the illegal use of $39.2 million and 3.5 million euros. The Moldovan prosecutor’s office concluded that this money was received through fake loans that were provided by Banca de Economii, Unibank and Banca Sociala to companies controlled by his partner Ilan Shor. In Moldova, Plahotniuc faces up to 15 years in prison.
The Russian court has already convicted about a dozen defendants in the “Moldovan scheme”, they are serving long sentences. One of the last high-profile sentences from the “Moldovan” series of criminal cases was issued to the ex-owner of the Baltika Bank, Oleg Vlasov. The Tverskoy court sentenced him to 17 years in a strict regime colony. Vlasov was found guilty of laundering through the “Russian Laundromat” (from the English word laundry; laundry) about 46 billion rubles.
In July 2020, another Moldovan politician, Renato Usatii, was arrested by the Tver Court in one of the Laundromat cases. He was charged in absentia with the illegal withdrawal of more than 500 billion rubles from the Russian Federation. He, like Plato, is hiding and put on the international wanted list.