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Authorities could soon start bringing home some of the vanished $1 billion.14 April 2017
The Moldovan central bank said yesterday it was preparing legal action to recover the assets involved in a major money-laundering operation involving local banks and prominent figures.
Some of the funds have been traced to Cyprus, China, Hong Kong, and Switzerland, Reuters reports.
A former prime minister is serving nine years in prison for taking a bribe from a suspected key figure in the scheme, but so far other prominent political and business figures rumored to be implicated have not been charged with any wrongdoing.
The central bank said about 40 people have been identified as either benefitting from the fraud or facilitating it, without divulging their names.
Moldova’s reputation as a fraud hotspot was boosted recently when an investigative reporting project released documents that journalists said revealed new details of a multi-billion dollar operation to launder Russian money using corrupt Moldovan courts and banks.
UK police said the total amount of money moved out of Russian banks over the four years the scheme ran could have reached $80 billion, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said.
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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.
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