Europe's poorest country just got robbed
Jun 18, 2015
Moldova is Europe’s poorest country. The three of its banks just had to be bailed out by the government, because they “loaned” money to companies that immediately sent the money to safe havens out of the country. The companies in question all seem to have ties to Ilan Shor.
It's a mystery that's thrown Europe's poorest nation into deep crisis - $1bn has vanished from three of Moldova's leading banks, much of it passing through UK companies. A confidential report has blamed 28-year-old businessman, Ilan Shor, but in an exclusive BBC interview he proclaims his innocence….
The Kroll report describes how the three banks - Unibank, Banca Sociala and Banca de Economii - were taken over, beginning in 2012, by new owners, who appeared to be unconnected.
Some bought their shares using funds from UK limited partnerships, whose ownership is often opaque.
The banks then entered into a series of transactions which Kroll says had "no sound economic rationale". The web of loans emptied them of funds until "they were no longer viable as going concerns"….
The loans that brought the banks to the verge of collapse, according to the Kroll report, are particularly hard to explain. It says Banca Sociala, which it alleges was controlled by companies linked to Shor, lent 13.7bn lei (£484m, $750m) to five Moldovan firms, also allegedly linked to Shor….
Ilan Shor is very well-connected. He inherited a series of companies - including a chain of duty-free shops - from his father, Miron, who moved to Moldova from Israel when his son was three.