Ilan Shor’s lawyers have reportedly been included by the Moldovan authorities in the list of persons suspected of being associated with those subject to sanctions. Lawyers’ Union: “An arbitrarily adopted decision”
Representatives of the Union of Lawyers of the Republic of Moldova (UARM) are “deeply concerned” about the work of the Intelligence and Security Service (SIS) in connection with the inclusion of lawyers representing fugitive MP Ilan Shor in court, Aureliu Colenco and Iulian Balan, in the “List of persons suspected of being associated with natural and legal persons subject to sanctions”.
The UARM Council calls on the authorities to exclude the law firm of Aureliu Colenco and Iulian Balan from this list, stating that it “constitutes a decision taken arbitrarily by the competent authorities, (…) which suggests that it is based on the association/identification of lawyers with their clients or their clients’ cases as a result of the performance of their duties, which is inadmissible in a state governed by the rule of law”.
“From the SIS reply of 06.01.2023, it is noted that following the execution of CSE Order No 45 of 31 October 2022, as amended by CSE Order No 46 of 11 November 2022, the SIS has drawn up a list of persons suspected of being associated with natural and legal persons subject to sanctions, (…) with a view to applying increased precautionary measures regarding transactions not corresponding to the daily activity of clients but also refraining from carrying out the transactions referred to in para. 1.3. In this context, CA “Colenco Aureliu”, was included in the mentioned list, based on suspicions of association with one of the persons subject to sanctions”, a Union press release states.
At the same time, the Lawyers’ Union mentions that the lawyer Iulian Balan, lawyer in the Associate Office “Faculty of Law” USM, was also included in the “List of persons suspected of being associated with natural and legal persons subject to sanctions”, “under the position of natural persons with no. 96, against whom it is requested to apply measures of increased precaution with de facto blocking of any transactions of a financial nature”.
Representatives of the institution claim that this list has not been submitted either to the UARM, which is the supervisory authority, or to the lawyers, who are reporting entities, in order to apply enhanced precautionary measures.
“Respectively, it is certain that lawyers in the exercise of their profession, are not obliged to refrain from performing activities of providing legal assistance to clients – natural and legal persons subject to sanctions according to the list in Annex No. 1 to the CSE Provision No. 45 of 31 October 2022.
However, from the information at our disposal, we understand that lawyers Aureliu Colenco and Iulian Balan have been included by the SIS in the List of persons suspected of being associated with natural and legal persons subject to sanctions, with a view to applying enhanced precautionary measures on transactions, including by blocking financial transactions related to the provision of legal assistance in the exercise of the profession of lawyer, namely as a result of carrying out legal assistance activities in the exercise of the profession,” UARM states.
In addition, UARM notes that the institution’s concern regarding the inclusion of the law firm of lawyer Aureliu Colenco and lawyer Iulian Balan in that list would be based on the circumstances that would attest that the lawyers have concluded legal assistance contracts and have no other relations with the natural and legal persons subject to sanctions than lawyer-client relations.
“Over the years several SIS collaborators have received legal assistance from lawyers. Our society is aware of several high-profile cases where some former SIS collaborators, including high-ranking ones, have benefited from the assistance of lawyers, having been accused of committing human rights violations guided by the political environment in which they were performing their duties, and some of them have been definitively convicted for their actions. However, the lawyers did not refuse to provide qualified legal assistance,” the Union representatives added.
Aureliu Colenco and Iulian Balan represent the interests of several members of the Shor party. They represent Ilan Shor in the case in which he was sentenced in 2017 to seven years and six months in prison for fraud and money laundering, which in August 2021 was assigned to the Chisinau Court of Appeal (CA).
At the same time, there are also the lawyers of “Shor” party deputy Marina Tauber, targeted in two criminal cases initiated on the fact of “knowingly accepting party funding from an organized criminal group” and “falsifying the report on the financial management of the party”
Ilan Shor was included in the UK sanctions list in December 2022. In October, the US Treasury Department also imposed sanctions against fugitive MP Ilan Shor.
Charges brought to Ilan Shor, accused in bank fraud case
In June 2022, ZdG wrote that it has been three years since Ilan Shor, the deputy of the “Shor” political party, investigated in the “bank fraud” case, left Moldova. During this period, Șor, who lost his parliamentary immunity for the second time in May this year, appeared in numerous videos posted on his Facebook page in which he launched several attacks on the ruling party and Moldovan President Maia Sandu. Although he is a member of parliament, Shor did not attend any of the meetings called by parliament.
In the “bank fraud” case, Shor is charged on nine counts.
In a reply provided to ZdG in June 2022 by the PA, the Prosecutor’s Office stated that investigations have been ordered to search for Ilan Șor both in Moldova and abroad in the criminal case “bank fraud”, pending before the CA. At the same time, extradition procedures have been initiated for him in the criminal case in question, and all the necessary documents have been forwarded by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova to the competent Israeli authorities.