AUDIO, DOC // “Ghost” banker in Vlad Filat’s case
A well-known Russian banker was attracted unknowingly in the controversial case of former PM Vlad Filat. Former executive chairman of the Russian Petrocomerţ bank is accused of having met in February 2013, former general secretary of the Government Victor Bodiu and they planned to take over a part of bad assets from Banca de Economii (BEM). According to the report Kroll, taking bad loans worth about one billion lei by Roseau Alliance LLP was the first step in taking over the BEM scheme. Reporters of the Center for Investigative Journalism found the banker but he does not know anything about the financial transactions at BEM and the criminal case in Moldova pertaining him. Also, the case included details about a car which Ilan Shor claims of having given to Vlad Filat as bribe in 2013, though the car that was sequestered afterwards, has been produced and imported to Moldova in 2014 .
Mysterious banker and general secretary of the Government
Name of the Russian banker Pavel Neumîvakin is invoked in Vlad Filat’s case by former general secretary of the Government Victor Bodiu. He is cited by the Buiucani Court sector to testify on the case of his former head of Government. Bodiu said that in early 2013 he received instructions from Vlad Filat to meet with representatives of a Russian bank who were interested to buy a part of the bad assets from BEM.
"The meeting with the representative of the bank who was accompanied by a lady, was held in the Government building in the office of the general secretary, and the business card represented Petrocomerţ Bank, in the person of Neumîvaikin or Neumîvakin, I do not remember the exact name. He said that he was interested to buy some bad assets from BEM, he wanted to discuss details with the bank and he would be represented in all discussions with the bank by his partners in Moldova and namely Mr. Shor and team from Unibank", said Bodiu before judges in Buiucani. He added that the meeting with Russian banker was held in February, 2013.
Unibank was owned by Petrocomert Bank until August 2012 when it was taken over by Shor group. In 2007, the Russian bank said that it had sold its shares from Unibank to an Austrian investment fund, that turned out to be a company close to Petrocomerţ Bank, so the Moldovan bank was managed by the parent-bank in Russia until the deal from summer 2012.
According to the reasoned decision ruled by Buiucani Court, Victor Bodiu said that Ilan Shor and the team from Unibank participated in further negotiations for transferring bad loans (agreed with Neumîvakin - n.r.). Neumîvakin's representatives had proposed redeeming of bad assets with the help of some offshore companies - Rouse Allince LLP, adding that the Russian bank will be "the vehicle that will take over loans". The transfer contract of bad loans worth 939.9 million lei was signed with the offshore company on March 18, 2013.
„ I do not know Victor Bodiu”
Center for Investigative Journalism came into the possession of an official reply received by the judge of the Court of Appeal Nichifor Corochii, rapporteur in Vlad Filat’s case, by which the magistrate is informed by the Border Police that Pavel Neumîvakin has not crossed the Moldovan border in the period from 2013 to November 1, 2016. However, the reply states that there is the transnistrian segment on the territory of the Republic of Moldova and authorities cannot control crossing of persons there.
Reporters of CIJM found Pavel Neumîvakin. He did not activate at Petrocomerţ Bank since 2014. CIJM conducted a short interview. The banker, appointed a few years ago the best bank manager of the Russian Federation told us that he had visited Moldova in 2012 last, but he was not involved in the case with Banca de Economii. Neither he nor the bank he represented in 2013, had the intention to redeem the bad loans from Banca de Economii. Neumîvakin confirms that he knows Ilan Shor, as Unibank was owned by Petrocomerţ bank in the past. Also, he added that he had never visited the Moldovan government building and did not know Victor Bodiu.
"I have not met anyone from the government. I do not know Victor Bodiu. I do not know Banca de Economii. Petrocomert had a daughter bank in Moldova, Unibank, which was sold to a businessman who seemed successful at the time, Ilan Shor. The story of collaboration relations ended with this sale. I do not remember anything about intention of taking bad loans. I do not know anything about Rouse Alliance LLP ", said Neumîvakin.
Phone conversation between journalist from CIJM and Pavel Neumîvakin, former executive director of Petrocomerț bank
We contacted Victor Bodiu for comments. Former general secretary of the Government did not answer the phone and did not reply to the message that we sent him on the social network Facebook.
„Prosecution version is not confirmed”
Despite the formal reply received from the Border Police that Neumîvakin has not crossed the border of the Republic of Moldova in 2013, both Buiucani court and the Court of Appeal Chisinau rejected requests of Vlad Filat’s lawyers to appoint a rogatory commission to question the banker and retained only statements made by Victor Bodiu, even if they were not confirmed by evidence.
Off-shore Rouse Allince LLP was created on 16 March 2012, a year before the alleged meeting between Neumîvakin and Shor and signing of the transfer of bad loans from Banca de Economii. It has two off-shore companies on Marshall Islands, A & P Henderson LTD and Consult Cyprus Services LTD. In the denouncement made by Ilan Shor on October 13, 2015, just two days before Vlad Filat was deprived of immunity and detained, the current mayor of town Orhei testified that the former premier would have asked him in early 2013 to take bad loans from BEM. Instead, he would have promised to solve the problem with the duty free sale of oil products and warned that he would destroy all his businesses in Moldova. Both the Kroll report and financial reports submitted by Rousseau Alliance LLP to the relevant authorities in the UK, where the company was registered, show that the off-shore did not carry out activities other than fictitious taking of bad assets from BEM. The company seems to have been created specifically for this "deal", a year before so, as stated by Shor, Filat proposed taking over of loans from BEM. The liquidation proceedings of the company Rousseau Allince started in September 2015 and the company has stopped its activity on December 15, 2015.
In the opinion of the lawyer Igor Popa, Neumîvakin’s statements contradict Bodiu’s evidence in the prosecution. "Vlad Filat was convicted including based on these testimonies. By excluding Bodiu’s statements, version of prosecution upheld by the Court of Appeal over the fact that BEM’s assignment was set following a meeting with bank representatives in the Russian Federation, ordered by Filat, is not confirmed. That means Vlad Filat is accused of a crime which he did not commit", commented defender.
Prosecutors’ ambiguous accusations
CIJM wrote in a journalistic investigation about three young girls from the Russian Federation targeted in the case as intermediaries through which Ilan Shor claimed that he has sent 320 million lei to former PM. In this case, the lawyers insisted on a rogatory commission to question the three witnesses, but both Buiucani Court and the Court of Appeal Chisinau rejected the claims. CIJM journalists have found the young girls and discussed with two of them. Women said that they did not know Filat and Shor and have never been to Moldova. None of them knew anything about the criminal case pertaining to them. After disclosures made by them, the Court of Appeal Chisinau excluded this episode from judgment and reduced the value of the bribe by 320 million lei. The current mayor of Orhei said in court that he bribed the former prime minister.
„Analyzing the overall evidence related to episodes of transmitting different sums of money to Vlad Filat, money raised from Unibank by A. Papykian, L. Noscova and I. Alexandrova, the criminal college concludes that the sum incriminated to the defendant as illegal reward received directly from I. Shor or through an intermediary, the equivalent of 320 941 414 lei, has not been confirmed or lacked enough evidence. The sentence is quashed on this segment and this sum calculated from the total sum of illegal reward worth 798 003 178 lei will be excluded, as it is not confirmed ", reads the reasoned judgment of the Court of Appeal Chisinau. Evidence is reported in the document below.
Prosecutor Adriana Betisor did not make comments for press about this evidence from indictment which is denied by testimonies.
Car from the „future”
The evidence presented in court is a Porsche Macan, which, under the indictment, Vlad Filat would have received it as a bribe in April 2013. The car would have been sent by Ilan Shor to former PM to persuade more members of the Government, especially the Prime Minister Iurie Leanca and former deputy-minister of Finance Minister Victor Barbaneagra to issue additional assets at BEM, ceding majority shares to Ilan Shor’s companies. The evidence presented by prosecutors in court shows that the car was registered on the name of an intermediary, Gheorghe Ciumac, a person close to Vlad Filat.
The car's technical passport, customs statements and other documents showed that the car was produced in 2014 and was imported on April 13, 2014.
Despite the documents showing that the car was produced a year later than committing the alleged corruption act, both Buiucani Court and the Court of Appeal Chisinau accepted the prosecution evidence.
"The fact that prosecutors presented as evidence a car that was produced and imported a year later than the alleged corruption act happened, means that this is a political and fabricated case that comprises excessive celerity, which generated serious errors and affected the legality of the decision. Vlad Filat is accused of impossible actions: receiving a car that was not produced when it was sent to the PM, sums of money which were not received by Vlad Filat, bank card payments performed by other people. I have said several times that this case contains artificial incriminating evidence", said the lawyer.
Prosecutor Adriana Betisor refused to talk to us about the evidence from the case that is not confirmed. "You can understand what you want of what Mr Neumîvakin says, but I will not react to what media writes. I do not know if you are aware of the fact that under the new law on prosecution, I cannot make statements on criminal cases. This is the responsibility of the press service. Simply, it is not my competence and I would not like to be questioned for the fact that I speak to the media. The media service must give you an answer ", said Adriana Betisor. The press service of the General Prosecutor’s office informed us that the Anti-corruption prosecutor Viorel Morari was on a trip abroad and will give us an answer when he returns. Previously, Morari told us that he could not comment on the evidence of this case because it was sent to the court before he was elected head of the Anticorruption Prosecution.
We contacted judge Nichifor Corochii and asked him why the court did not insist on questioning witness Pavel Neumîvakin after Border Police informed him that he was not in Moldova in 2013, he replied that the Court of Appeal Chisinau "has not cleared up this episode". "How can we question Neumîvakin if he was not in Moldova? These episodes were excluded from the accusations against Vlad Filat ", said the magistrate. However, the reasoned judgment of the Court of Appeal covers the case with Russian banker.
Ion Guzun, expert of the Center for Legal Resources in Moldova says that since Vlad Filat’s case is the first case since a Moldovan PM is investigated for corruption acts, it was the moral obligation of judges to ensure a public trial, with valid evidence of prosecutors, evidence-based accusations, and the former prime minister and other people are really guilty. "All these elements were missed. Moreover, the allegations of former general prosecutor showed that Vlad Filat took bribes worth 250 million dollars. This amount decreased more than tenfold until the trial. Thus, we have enough clues that the evidence in this case is not viable, especially since judges rejected interviewing witnesses who did not come to Moldova and did not sent bribes to the PM, as prosecutors said”, said the expert.
This investigation has been produced as part of the “Journalists for Integrity in Public Service” campaign, carried out by the Center for Investigative Journalism with the support of the Good Governance Program of Soros Foundation Moldova. The donor does not influence the topic or content of the published investigations.
Investigations in the same category:
VIDEO // Story of a bribe for prosecutors
A "remuneration" of 235 thousand euros would have determined the Anticorruption prosecutors to stop the criminal prosecution and to release a businessman suspected of money laundering in particularly large proportions. The intermediary who filmed with the hidden camera the moment when the money was transmitted to a prosecutor, reported the case to the Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office. The case was covered up and the complaint was removed from the record. From trafficker to creative man and patron Gheorghe Vîrtosu. Photo: virtosuart.com The businessman who was investigated by the CNA (National Anticorruption Center) for money laundering is Gheorghe Vîrtosu and lives in the
Property and interests of candidates for the seat of general prosecutor
20 candidates applied for the seat of Prosecutor General, initiated by the Ministry of Justice in late September. Among those who compete for the seat of general prosecutor are lawyers, jurists, prosecutors. Anticoruptie.md portal reveals the profile of candidates and their property. UPDATE: 4 of the 20 candidates competing for the seat of general prosecutor were not admitted to the contest. The Ministry of Justice announced that, following the evaluation of the files submitted, the Commission for the pre-selection of candidates to the office of general prosecutor admitted 16 candidates. Thus, the lawyer Ilie Rotaru, former prosecutor Ion Vicol, prosecutor of
Main state institutions, guarded by security companies with criminal past close to Vlad Plahotniuc and of “the thief in law” Makena
Two private enterprises of over 100 that ensure security and detective services gained advantageous tenders for the security of state institutions for many years. One of the companies belongs to an off-shore company, affiliated to the leader of PDM, Vladimir Plahotniuc, and the other is of a former policeman, who would be connected to the criminal authority Vladimir Moscalciuc, alias Makena. Though, these companies are targeted in dubious schemes, torture cases, use of force, illegal interceptions and other serious actions, they are free to guard public institutions, including those in justice field, despite the prohibitions of the law. The
INDICTMENT: April 7, 2009. How torturing policemen, judges and prosecutors were (NOT) held accountable
On April 7-8, 2009, when thousands of young people went out to protest against the April 5 parliamentary election fraud, and police forces were mobilized to repress the peaceful protest, hundreds of young people were detained forcefully, and taken to police commissariats, where they were humiliated and tortured. Dozens of prosecutors and judges went to police commissariats and judged the young people maltreated for mass disorder or hooliganism without taking any attitude to police atrocities. Ten years after the events of April 2009, we find that several files were closed or suspended and the truth was not revealed. Not a
INDICTMENT: April 7, 2009. Ten years of injustice
Ten years after the violent actions of April 7, 2009, following a peaceful protest triggered by the authorities, where hundreds of young people have been maltreated and tried in the police commissariats, no prosecutor, judge or policeman has ever been punished for abuses committed. Prosecutors filed 71 criminal cases, but only some of those who participated in the devastation of Parliament and Presidency buildings were punished. Just one policeman, who fled the country and wanted by Interpol, was sentenced to jail. All officials who somehow managed the actions of the police forces or were indifferent during the events of
Greek magistrates did what justice in Moldova didn’t: former international expert sentenced to 2 years in prison for pedophilia
Eight years after the publication of an investigation of the Center of Investigative Journalism about a network of pedophiles in Moldova and Ukraine, Greek justice ruled: Nick Georgiadis, one of the pedophiles abusing minors, was convicted. Tuesday, February 26, in Greece, two years in prison. In the Republic of Moldova, Georgiadis was "escaped" from criminal punishment. "The court in Athens, Greece did not acknowledge any mitigating circumstances and sentenced Georgiadis, aged 55, to a 28-month prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 euros. At the time of committing the crimes, he was advisor to the Minister of Economy within the
Judges with apartments for free
During the last five years (2012-2017), more than MDL 127 million were allocated from the Chisinau municipality budget to provide with apartments some persons who sued the City Hall asking for housing or for concluding reconciliation transactions with it. Among the beneficiaries of such apartments, but also of funds, there are also magistrates. Some of them, although they received apartments free of charge from the housing stock of Chisinau municipality, have enriched themselves in the meantime with other dwellings: some of these being purchased at preferential prices, others - bought at market price. There are also judges who have
Women victims of domestic violence, facing alone the aggressors and the justice system
Victims of domestic violence, mostly women, often depend on a justice system that does not protect them and does not show leniency when out of despair they try to defend themselves or counter-attack, say lawyers and human rights activists. Angela Gojan. Photo: CIJM Angela Gojan was just over 20 years old when her marriage became a nightmare for her. Finally, 10 years later, she decided to break the vicious circle. The woman says that she was cruelly beaten for trifles: someone looked at her, or she did not take care of the child or did not exactly meet her husband's requirements.
„50 shadows“ of the billion dollar theft cases
Every time when prosecutors are asked about the investigation of the billion dollar theft they invoke three criminal cases, and namely, "Shor case", "Filat case" and "Platon case” that have had different "fates" since the start of the prosecution. Several violations of the proceedings, excesses on the side of prosecutors and judges, ill-treatment, and human rights violations in custody and detention were reported in two of these cases. Reference to Shor, the first person concerned in a criminal case on the theft from Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank, the case has "frozen" on the table of the
„Stemma” of justice (II)
They were colleagues at the Law faculty, and now they are acting as judges, being opponents from the post of judges, lawyers or prosecutors. Though they say that the relationships of colleagues from the period of study do not influence on their professional activity in any way, several concrete cases prove that some judges and prosecutors have been promoted just in the period when their faculty colleagues served important posts in the justice system. You can see below the university colleagues of the chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice Mihai Poalelungi, of the General Prosecutor Eduard Harunjen and of
„Stemma” of justice
They have been colleagues at the Faculty of Law and now they are acting as judges, lawyers or prosecutors. Some of these are god-parents, god-sons while others - spouses, sons, daughters, brothers or sisters. All of them claim that personal relationships do not prevent them from being objective, in a country where most citizens perceive justice as the most corrupt field. In 2013, Ziarul de Garda (Zdg) revealed how the lawyer Iurie Guriev, god father of judge Oxana Banari (Mironov) who was serving at that time at the Donduseni District Court, did not request the magistrate's appeal in a case
Apartments at low price for magistrate Oleg Melniciuc’s mother and relatives in the residential block for judges
The head of the court Oleg Melniciuc, his mother and some of his relatives will get apartments and commercial property in the residential block on the street Hristo Botev 6 in Chisinau, which is currently being built for the magistrates of Rascani District Court in the capital and for their children. The magistrate himself who initially said that, though he owned some dwellings and he would like some flats for his children, he did not buy any flat in this block, but a commercial space. The president of the Superior Council of Magistracy Victor Micu received a flat in the
False witnesses in Vlad Filat’s case
Three women from the Russian Federation, who seem not to know about the situation in Moldova, appear as key-witnesses in the resounding corruption case involving Vlad Filat. According to statements made by Ilan Sor in court, they would have brokered alleged bribery worth 320 million lei to former Prime Minister. These statements were accepted by the court and included in the sentence without inviting the youths for evidence. Center for Investigative Journalism found the names of these girls and contacted two of them. The girls claim that they have never beento Moldova and do not know Ilan Sor and
18 bln USD laundered through the judiciary in Moldova since 2010 (II)
About 18 billion dollars, 17 judges, three "ghost" cases whose signatories are missing, a case destroyed and a judge unwillingly involved in the scheme of legalizing "black" money in the Russian Federation. Continuation from November 20 In the period 2010-2014, the Republic of Moldova has turned into a real "laundering" of large amounts of money from Russian Federation. The scheme included at least 17 Moldovan prosecutors who have legalized profits that would have been obtained illegally, wrote the Russian media. On the other hand, officials of the National Anti-Corruption Center say they cannot speak about “money laundering" in this case, because
18 bln USD laundered through the judiciary in Moldova since 2010 (I)
Since 2010, the Republic of Moldova became a real system of money laundering in the region through the courts. This "fame" went around the world and half of the 20 judges who dictated shameful verdicts continue to judge and "do justice" to this day. Many judges who have "legalized" black money from Russia were later on involved in scandals. However, the system does not want to "cleanse" itself and some of the judges who participated in money laundering scheme were even appointed court presidents. Copycat ordinances Schemes used by criminals for money laundering were always the same - some offshore companies in
The assets declared by judges: houses and cars at negligible costs
Most judges undervalue their movable and immovable property which they officially declare to own. The reporters of the Center for Investigative Journalismarrived to this conclusion after having examined more than 400 declarations of income and assets, submitted by magistrates for 2014. The legislation requires that in declaration of assets is indicated the cadastral estimate of the property, which in almost all cases is far below market value. For cars, the price is quoted from the contract of sale, which is also, in many cases, lower than the real one. Experts say it is a vicious practice and blame it on
The judges “with nine lives”
In the documents remitted to the SCM, Vladimir Voronin, Marian Lupu, Mihai Ghimpu and Nicolae Timofti have cautioned that those rejected do not have a place in the judiciary because they discredit Justice, are not objective, have unjustified wealth, have integrity issues, relations with businessmen conducting shady businesses. Most often, the findings were based on the reports from the Information and Security Service (ISS). Despite the arguments brought by the rulers of the country, SCM kept on position or even promoted around 55 judges. In the meantime, some of them left the system honorably taking their sins with them,
The stories from www.anticoruptie.md may be used in the limit of up to 1,000 characters. Web pages must indicate the source and link directly to the article. Print media, Radio and TV stations must indicate the source. Publishing full version of stories is allowed based on a prior agreement with the Center for Investigative Journalism. Articles published on www.anticoruptie.md are protected by the Law on copyright and related rights of Republic of Moldova.