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News 12 Dec 17

Moldova Charges Russian Banker with Money-Laundering

Moldova’s anti-graft authorities have confirmed that Russian banker German Gorbuntsov has been questioned over several criminal cases.

Mădălin Necșuțu
BIRN
Chisinau
Russian banker German Gorbuntsov. Photo: Publika TV

Moldova’s General Prosecutor's Office told news website deschide.md on Monday evening that German Gorbuntsov is being investigated in at least three criminal cases by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office.

After returning to Moldova on November 30 following a six-year absence, Gorbutsov was first questioned by prosecutors about an attempt to assassinate him in London in March 2012.

It was not clear at that point whether this had anything to do with other allegations against him.

The General Prosecutor's Office then made it clear that Gorbuntsov is being investigated in at least three criminal cases related to money-laundering, abuse and embezzlement.

“German Gorbuntsov was being questioned regarding accusations in three criminal cases at the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, as he arrived in Chisinau. The prosecution is continuing with activities arising from the accused's statements,” said the head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, Viorel Morari.

On the same day as he arrived in Chisinau, Gorbuntsov gave a late-night interview to news station Publika TV, owned by the leader of the ruling party, Vlad Plahotniuc, in which he said that Plahotniuc had nothing to do with his attempted assassination in London in 2012.

Gorbuntsov owned a controlling interest in a Moldovan bank, Universalbank, from 2008 to mid-2011.

After taking over the bank, Gorbuntsov’s main adversary, Moldovan politician Renato Usatii, alleged that Gorbuntsov was laundering five to 10 million dollars per day through the bank.

Gorbuntsov has said that all Usatii’s allegations are lies.

Usatii has been accused of being behind the failed attempt to kill Gorbuntsov in 2012.

Usatii has denied this, claiming that he is a political victim of Plahotniuc’s regime.

He is wanted in Moldova over the assassination attempt, and has fled to Moscow.

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