OP-ED: How Would It Be Possible To Return Moldovan Politicians’ Illicit Assets Hidden Abroad?
The United Kingdom announced to transfer to Moldova’s state budget the money withheld from Luca Filat, the son of the former prime minister Vlad Filat. In the meantime, the press also wrote that several Moldovan politicians would keep undeclared fortunes abroad. Some of these states, such as Switzerland, the USA, or Israel could contribute to informing the Moldovan authorities about the non-compliant assets of the political leaders from Chișinău.
Ruslan Flocea, Director of the National Anticorruption Center
I must tell you that the Moldovan law institutions contributed to the case of the British Courts’ confiscation of approximately half a million pounds.
From the moment of pronouncing the decision on confiscation, the Agency for the Recovery of Criminal Property from the National Anti-Corruption Center initiated the negotiation on the money restitution and kept in touch with the British Embassy in Bucharest and Moldova’s diplomatic mission.
The Agency is talking to many countries on secure communication platforms and is in a constant exchange of information and data. Namely, this communication is directed towards the identification, pursuit, and unavailability of illicit goods from other jurisdictions.
Igor Munteanu, Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the Control of Public Finances
There are several international initiatives that have to strengthen integrity standards, such as the Global Accountability Act and the Global Magnitsky Act. States must work together under these fundamental laws for strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption. I suspect that other countries will follow Great Britain’s example because money from the billion-dollar bank fraud and the Russian Laundromat has been placed in other countries as well. I do not know the list of countries where the money is hidden, but certainly, international conventions only encourage such a decision.
At the same time, I have to mention the fact that the US Treasury Department has repeatedly stated that it is willing to cooperate with the authorities of the state from which the money was stolen, to bring to light and return the money to the citizens of these countries.
Moldova needs to create a mechanism that works effectively in this direction.
Veaceslav Ioniță, economic expert
The only ones responsible for investigating these cases are the Moldovan authorities. Countries such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom have enacted legislation to prevent money laundering so that if someone in a particular country has cheated, as was Moldova’s case, and uses the money in those countries, this is a crime and a serious violation of the law. So, the Moldovan authorities should prosecute the crime of the stolen money from the Moldovan banking system. At the same time, in the case of Luca Filat, there was a violation of the legislation of Great Britain. It is the duty of our authorities to ask other countries’ authorities for details about assets and to discuss their possible return.