February 24 will be held parliamentary elections in Moldova. It is expected that the overwhelming number of seats in the new parliament of the country will receive three political forces. A clear favorite of the upcoming elections is the opposition Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova, which is focused on restoring cooperation with Moscow. Another opponent of the ruling regime – the right-wing ACUM bloc – is actively supported by Europe and the USA. According to analysts, while the Democratic Party of Moldova in power, headed by our old acquaintance, oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, can also get significant representation in the new parliament.
According to surveys, including those conducted by the American International Republican Institute (IRI), the ruling regime is not pleasing to the people. Moreover, it does not suit either Europe or Russia. The main reasons are prosperous corruption and degrading democracy.
It would seem that the regime is doomed. However, the Moldovan policy has its own characteristics, one might even say miracles. One of them is the Shore Party. It can be called the new hope of Plakhotnyuk, designed to repeat the effect of “Our Party” – the favorite of the 2014 parliamentary campaign, which was filmed shortly before the elections.
The leader of the Shore Party, Ilan Shore, is well known not only in Moldova. A rich businessman with broad connections in Russia and Israel. However, according to Renato Usatiy, the founder of Our Party, Shore’s entry into Russia is banned as early as January 2015 and for at least six years. According to one version, a ban on entry could be imposed for damage to a number of Russian banks as a result of financial fraud. Probably, the Russian decision regarding Shor became decisive for his future fate in Moldova.
In the summer of 2017, a Chisinau court sentenced him to 7.5 years in prison for financial fraud. As the media have repeatedly reported, the scam in which he participated was so large that it was called a “crime of the century” in the republic, and the prosecutor even demanded 19 years in prison for Shor. Recall that in the fall of 2014, on the eve of the parliamentary elections, out of three Moldovan banks, $ 1 billion was withdrawn – an amount equivalent at that time to 12% of the GDP of the entire republic. In order to steal the money, it took the fraudsters only a few days, during which banks, according to the financial merry-go-round principle, credited the companies controlled by Shore. Later, these funds were withdrawn to the Latvian bank accounts of companies from the UK and Hong Kong. At the time of the fraud, all banks were associated with a businessman: he served as chairman of the board of directors of Banca de Economii, and also was a shareholder of Bansa Sociala and Unibank. Moreover, as the independent company Kroll, hired by the National Bank of Moldova to investigate the fraud, found out, even the collector’s car, which carried the Bansa de Economii documents and which was later burned, belonged to the security agency Klassika Force Ilan Shor.
As a result of the scam, the republic’s budget suffered enormous damage, since the National Bank had to plug the financial hole. Ilan Shor himself was detained in June 2016 on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, and in August was placed under house arrest on charges of “abusing his official position while managing a bank”. Shore collaborated with the investigation. In fact, on the basis of his testimony, former Moldovan prime minister Vladimir Filat was arrested and later sentenced to nine years in prison.
Shore himself has so far managed to get away from the fact that the sentence against him was carried out. The protection of the businessman said that she would appeal, but so far, according to information from public sources, this has not been done. In fact, as you might expect, the case is delayed on purpose. And Shor is not just left free. Back in 2015, he became mayor of the city of Orhei, and is actively involved in political activities, leading a party named after himself.
Let’s leave out the ambiguity of the legislative system of the Republic of Moldova, which allows people whose guilt is proven in court to participate in elections and hold public office. A serious and powerful administrative resource is obvious here. It is complemented by generous charity, loud promises and the like. All this, apparently, is being done for the sole purpose of convincing the voter of his pro-Russian orientation and creating the impression that the lives of ordinary citizens are concerned about politics.
In fact, Ilan Shor can be called a typical oligarch without political convictions and ideological biases who are forced to be friends with Plahotniuc today in order to avoid real criminal prosecution.