17 Jan 2020 16:45

Moldovan president thanks U.S. for sanctions against Plahotniuc

CHISINAU. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Moldovan President Igor Dodon has thanked the United States for imposing personal sanctions against Moldovan tycoon Vladimir Plahotniuc and his family.

"I thank the U.S. for this decision. This is a good message for everyone who has broken the law and hopes to escape responsibility. Nobody should have lifetime immunity or protection that would help them escape responsibility. Sooner or later, they will have to answer for their corrupt dealings and other violations," Dodon said in his weekly address on YouTube.

Dodon also warned other people suspected of playing a role in the theft of roughly $1 billion from the Moldovan banking system. "One is hiding in Israel [businessman and parliamentarian Ilan Sor], others in the U.S., and some hope that they can't be reached. For every action, there can always be a tougher reaction. If you've broken the law, you're going to be caught, brought home, and held accountable," he said.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 13, that the fugitive Moldovan tycoon Plahotniuc and his family members were put on the U.S. sanction list.

"Vladimir Plahotniuc's corrupt actions undermined the rule of law and severely compromised the independence of democratic institutions in Moldova. Today, I publicly designate him. The U.S. stands with Moldova in its fight against corruption," Pompeo said on Twitter.

Plahotniuc left Moldova on the evening of June 14, immediately after the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) announced its decision to join the opposition. He resigned as PDM chairman soon afterward and relinquished his parliamentary mandate in late July. Moldovan prosecutors opened criminal cases against him on charges of money laundering and involvement in the theft of money from the national banking system.

On October 11, a Moldovan court ruled to issue an arrest warrant for Plahotniuc, and the documents for declaring him internationally wanted were ready on October 18.

Russia has opened several criminal cases against Plahotniuc. Moscow's Tverskoi District Court ruled to issue an arrest warrant for him on July 29, 2019. The Tverskoi District Court also ordered in November 2019, that Plahotniuc be arrested for two months at the moment of his detention or extradition to Russia.