The MDA-Russia diplomatic war: the harassment of officials and investigators that laundered billions
The relations between Moldova and the Russian Federation entered since Thursday in crisis, as a result of an act without precedent that expresses the exasperation of the Moldovan authorities, but also prospects for starting of a major repressive act (including in the form of military threats or subversive) of the Russian Federation. We are already talking about State matters with special relevance, to which the Moldovan authorities have had as a unique form of reaction the public exposure of the case and its posting in the official press release, of the responsibilities of the generals and the leadership of FSB (the former KGB) of Russian top politicians, called to act urgently.
We talk about state a business. When the state authorities in a formula extended - the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - call an ambassador and give him a protest note of such gravity, a memo stating that the diplomats from the Republic Moldova, but also the case investigators of laundering of 22 billion dollars, are being harassed by the Russian authorities and that therefore no Moldovan official will not go to Moscow to solve the case; when all the action is made public in an expanded press release means, undoubtedly, that we face the most serious crisis that is passing Moldova after August 2009. The worst and also the most dangerous in relations with Russia since the Transnistrian War and the return from the airplane scale of Putin, who came in 2003 to sign the Kozak Memorandum.
The case "Laundromat" means the laundering of 22 billion dollars through banks in Moldova. The mechanism is simple: a major Russian company has a commercial agreement on enormous amounts (of about 22 times the budget of Moldova, in total) with tiny, unknown companies in Chisinau. And because they have not paid, are obtained, at marginal courts around Chisinau, purchased court decisions, through which are enshrined some false debts. Major Russian companies immediately pay them to offshore or marginal companies, which in turn send further the money cleared by the customs. The mechanism is laundering the money of some Russian institutions or some people, generals or heads of the FSB, according to the official press release (which rejects, by the way, any political involvement).
The FSB reprisals against the authorities and the officials from Moldova
Well, as a result of orchestrating this case, as if by chance, appeared massive retaliation of FSB upon the Moldovan authorities. The communique does not directly quote the concerned service, but it talks that it would be the one in charge of guarding the borders and which would make the whole constellation of harassment complained. These actions, which have not stopped repeated after multiple warnings, determined a furious, solid and justified reaction of Moldovan authorities. Especially because more than 25 officials (including those involved in the investigation) were teased, humiliated, harassed, terrorized and rolled, contrary to all rules and any international commitments to which the Russian Federation is a party, the Moscow airports, although they had diplomatic passports and they were on business, possibly even in formal meetings!
There were multiple actions through diplomatic channels, but no results. The politicians in the Russian Federation have completely ignored or felt that the service is doing its job with what it has in handy and it knows why is acting like this. In any case, as it seems - from their inactions - that they told themselves that, a war with the FSB is not worth for Moldova...
But the cup was filled and I have witnessed the first action really serious the authorities in Chisinau, an action that shows and exasperation, and fear, and tension to the extreme of the bilateral relations, and the need to publicly expose and prevent further more important action, which probably they prepare.
It is, at the same time, and the first notable reaction of verticality and affirmation of the independence not of an official or another - we had a president who asked Putin the withdrawal of Russian troops, a Defense Minister who also demanded the withdrawal of two military attachés who were strolling around the Tiraspol - but of the Moldovan state in its entirety!
Thus, Thursday, March 9, exasperated by the inaction of Russian officials, the Speaker Andrian Candu, and the Prime Minister Pavel Filip have summoned the Russian Ambassador to Moldova Farit Muhametshin. At the meeting attended the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexander Jizdan, the Minister of Justice, Vladimir Cebotari, and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. The topic of the discussion was the transmission of an extremely harsh protest Memo to the political leadership of the Russian Federation, through which are reported a series of abuses committed against the officials of the Government, the special services and the ruling coalition parties in Moldova.
The Moldovan officials are illegally stopped at the entrance to the Russian Federation, questioned, searched, treated outrageously by the representatives of the Russian special services. In the document also is described how abusive the FSB tried - several times in recent months - to pursue international several Moldovan politicians, including MPs, using for this purpose the false information and truncated data. The abundant calls were rejected for these reasons, and for reasons of a clear attempt to harass the officials from Chisinau.
Given in international pursuit with false papers: the investigators - 35 times in a row, the politicians - 15 times
There were situations where such requests have been transmitted 15 times just in case of a single person, which can not possibly induce the suspicion of political harassment. How the requests in question were rejected every time, the respective institutions of the Russian Federation passed to a new form of abuse that is trying to put the oficials under surveillance based on bilateral relations, by targeting specific states. And this time the Moldovan authorities managed to communicate with those countries and stopped the new abuse.
In the sent note is signaled and the abuse on officers and prosecutors within the institutions that conduct the mentioned investigation, which is also subjects of abusive behavior at the entrance to the Russian Federation. Just in case there was an employee of the Interior Ministry, I said, no more than 35 abusive interventions, at the entrance or deaparture from an airport in Moscow.
The Russian Ambassador, Farid Muhametshin was announced that until the problem is resolved, the Moldovan officials will not go to Moscow. All these abuses have escalated once the investigators in Chisinau advanced in the investigations on Laundering of 22 billion dollars through Moldinconbank coming from Russian Federation. Specifically, immediately after were arrested officials of the bank above mentioned, and judges and executors were put under accusation, some of them already sent to court.
In addition, the retaliations widened after there were requests for rogatory letters to the Russian Federation. The abuses have intensified with the requests submitted by the Moldovan investigators, in the Russian Federation, to obtain information on the provenance of the mentioned money, essential for testing the entire criminal path in this case. We note that the investigation revealed as well links between some of the money and an attempt to bribe some MPs of the Parliament of Moldova.
Also mention the total lack of cooperation of law enforcement bodies of the Russian Federation with the Moldovan investigators in this case, as well the refusal to respond to rogatory commissions transmitted by the Moldovan prosecutors in the investigation of the laundering of the 22 billion dollars. In this respect, have been violated several bilateral agreements but also international agreements to which the Russian Federation is a party.
Casus beli with serious consequences in Chisinau
Any analysis of these facts show that we are dealing with a serious case with serious risks concerning the use of some more serious tools of military intervention type or subversion: the undermining of the Moldovan state, compromising and intoxication, misinformation and active measures. Only this perspective explains why the case went public in these terms: once exposed, the ability to intervene, of cavil and subversive actions is more difficult to cover and manage, thus to denounce assumptions.
Also, this type of approach - that separates the responsibility of FSB and the Russian politicians - might prove a charade or a good option. Basically, Chisinau left Russia an exit, a path of withdrawal, once considered that the culprits are just the leadership and the generals of the almighty domestic intelligence service of Russia (although - the practice dixit - reflects the whole post-Soviet space and not infrequently beyond). As analysts, however, we can not consider that businesses and money laundering with such amounts - 22 billion dollars - could be done in the Russian Federation without Putin's knowledge. Here the truth will come out soon, depending on the reaction to the already addressed public summons.
On the other hand, the anger of Moscow is, probably, great, if the type of reaction is described in the official press release: ignoring the diplomatic passport, the agreement between states, the harassment of those concerned, giving an APB on false documents, the involvement of institutions such as Interpol, Europol, and then of other third countries in this process, finally, harassing and attempts to bury a case of this magnitude. The legend says that after the annexation of Crimea, were seized/frozen the funds of a Russian bank which have close to 48 billion dollars - a presumptive part of Vladimir Putin's personal wealth. Here it would be about half that amount, comparable, however, with 20 times of the budget of Moldova.
Who fights with the Russian corruption, the global and the true one
The state with the highest corruption in the European region (minus the Russian Federation), the Republic of Moldova seems to have started combating the corruption in the hardest and more serious cases. And it's not about the famous and much-publicized unique oligarch, Vladimir Plahotniuc, who would have captured the state. Not even about the president without occupation of Moldova, Igor Dodon, who said that he has income and he made his campaign with funds borrowed from his parents. No. It's about really heavy cases of justice that could not move without a solid international cooperation and involving serious institutions in the world, and many countries able to pursue these amounts of money further.
A first sign of recovery and determination to combat corruption had been given by the case of the disappeared billion from three banks through fictitious loans actions and extracting the stored money by the owner himself, through deceitful maneuvers. Already in this case was arrested and sentenced Vlad Filat, the former Prime Minister, who was the only culprit for a long time, hence the charges based on selective justice, if not political vengeance in this form. There was also Ilan Shor, but here was the issue of the lack of a real preventive measures on him, although he was the lead author of theft. With Shor and Filat has joined, however, Veaceslav Platon, extradited from Kiev. But here has been speculated about the Plahotniuc-Poroshenko relationship and the revenge on "the poor" businessman Platon. This "poor" is actually the architect of the "Laundromat" scheme in Moldova and the owner of the bank "Moldincombank", the bank through which would have been laundered the billions of the Russians. Well, last week's heavyweight list was filled with Talmaci, the former governor of the National Bank, later the chairman of the Administration Council at Platon's bank, "Moldincombank". So already the panoply to fight corruption is greatly enriched, even though "the most hated person" in Chisinau, Vlad Plahotniuc was not never touched, on the contrary, he seemed to be behind the decision on reforms, fighting corruption and still hovered in the air the flavor of unilateralism and of the direction of his actions directed only to third parties.
More seriously is the fact that few have realized the relevance and weight of the moment in this equation. Thatit was not Igor Dodon who di this - whose only concern is to say that he travels further to Moscow even next week - no wonder. He who is a hell of a head of state, is trying to hide under the carpet an extremely serious case from the position of representative of Russian interests, not of the defender of the Republic of Moldova!
More serious is the fact that neither the opposition, very little routinely used in developments from Moldova and its surroundings and too much jammed in small politicking games, with the bad oligarch and the state captive, they failed to understand the relevance of the moment for the Moldovan state, regardless of who ensures the governing. Unfortunately, neither the civil society did not notice the moment, to support this great endeavor, firmly placed under the sign of the national interest, beyond political disputes.