Chișinău Court ordered the seizure of the National Hotel in the Metalferos case, in which former MP Vladimir Andronachi is investigated
The Chisinau Ciocana court, at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS), has ordered the seizure of the “National” Hotel in the “Metalferos” case, in which former deputy Vladimir Andronachi is under investigation, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PG) said.
According to the PG, Andronachi “is under investigation for money laundering, as well as for the creation and management of a criminal organization, but he did not appear before the investigating authority after being summoned repeatedly.” Therefore, the defendant has been announced as a wanted person and remanded in custody”.
“According to a report of the Service for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering submitted to the ARBI of the CNA and examined by the PCCOCS prosecutors, the accused is the beneficial owner of the company that owns the “National” Hotel, with the value of the share capital estimated in 2018 at the amount of 5.5 million euros, which constitutes more than 100 million lei.
Prosecutors note that this is one of the seized assets of the former MP in the “Metalferos” case, with a view to subsequent confiscation for the benefit of the state, on account of the damages caused by the defendant, of over 1.1 billion lei,” the PG announced in a press release.
On July 8, 2022, former Democratic deputy Vladimir Andronachi, considered a close associate of former PDM leader Vladimir Plahotniuc, was announced as an international wanted person by INTERPOL, as he was targeted in the “Metalferos” case and in the “Bank Fraud” case.
The law enforcement officers mention that on September 23, 2021, the International Police Cooperation Directorate of the General Patrol Inspectorate, based on the request of the National Anti-Corruption Center, sent to the General Secretariat of the Interpol ICPO, the request to announce Vladimir Andronachi in international search for arrest and extradition, according to the court warrant of September 21, 2021, issued by the Ciocana court, mun. Chisinau.
Vladimir Andronachi is suspected of money laundering in the “Metalferos” case. The former democrat is also under criminal investigation in the “bank fraud” case.
Ziarul de Gardă previously wrote that Vladimir Plahotniuc, the former chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, who is wanted by law enforcement agencies in Chisinau, had the right to sign or was a beneficiary of at least three companies that have benefited in recent years, directly or indirectly, tens of millions of dollars from contracts with Metalferos, a joint-stock company in which the state holds a majority stake. The name of Vladimir Andronachi, considered close to the former leader of the PDM, also appears here.
Details of the “Metalferos” case
On February 7, 2022, the PG sent to court a criminal case disjoined from the file generically called “Metalferos”.
In the case sent for trial, the status of defendants has been assigned to eight persons, who are accused of committing the following offences: Creation and management of an organised criminal group (Article 284 of the Criminal Code); Fraud committed in particularly large proportions (Article 190(5) of the Criminal Code) and Money laundering, committed by an organised criminal group and in particularly large proportions (Article 243 (3)(a) and (b) of the Criminal Code). According to the indictment, during 2018-2019, the head of the organized criminal group in complicity with the then director of SA “Metalferos”, accepted the implementation of the criminal plan developed by the head of the criminal organization and signed contracts for the purchase of ferrous and non-ferrous metals by SA “Metalferos” directly from the economic agents administered and managed, directly or through the intermediaries of the leader of the organised criminal group, who were deliberately offered a substantially lower price than the other economic agents with whom Metalferos SA also signed contracts for the supply of metals directly.
According to the prosecutors, on the basis of signed contracts, on the bank accounts of economic agents managed through intermediaries and/or directly by the head of the organized criminal group, SA “Metalferos”, in different periods of time, transferred funds, purchasing from these entities ferrous and non-ferrous metal. From the sums received from SA “Metalferos” into the accounts of the economic agents managed by the same leader of the organised criminal group, on the basis of the contracts concluded, he organised money transfers to the accounts of other economic agents managed through intermediaries also managed by him, with the aim of creating the appearance of legality, in particular of profitability of the activity of the economic agents managed, with an insignificant difference between the money received from SA “Metalferos” and the money transferred for the purchase of ferrous metals.
Continuing to achieve the determined criminal purpose, the leader of the organized criminal group, knowing with certainty that the real price of the ferrous metals from the population – individuals, is much lower, given that the enterprises he managed through intermediaries, had areas specifically designed for the collection of metals, through persons instigated by him, as well as other persons at the time unidentified by the prosecution, organised and ensured the submission to commercial banks of purchase documents with obviously distorted data on the price of ferrous metal, with subsequent withdrawal of the funds from the accounts of the controlled economic agents at the increased cash price. Subsequently, after collecting these funds, the members of the organised criminal group, acting on the instructions of the leader of the group, passed them on to the leader in unspecified circumstances of time and place.
From the money received from the members of the organized criminal group, carrying out the tasks established by the leader of the criminal association, the leader of this organized criminal group, through the persons at the time not determined by the prosecution, distributed the acquired funds for ferrous and non-ferrous metals to the persons responsible for purchasing them from the population, and the remaining illegally acquired funds, in the circumstances of time and place not determined, divided them with the leaders and the leader of the criminal organization.
Consequently, as a result of the criminal schemes implemented, SA “Metalferos” was caused a disproportionately large damage in the amount of 736 511 551.56 lei.
The PG officials also note that criminal proceedings are continuing against the other four organized criminal groups, including the leader of the criminal organization. At the moment, prosecutors are taking all necessary measures to identify all the individuals involved, administer evidence and, where appropriate, seize criminal assets with a view to ensuring their confiscation.
The legal authorities maintain that a person accused of committing a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a final court decision.