14 Aug 2019 15:46

Moldovan businessman Platon arrested in absentia in Russia on charges of siphoning over 37 bln rub abroad

MOSCOW. Aug 14 (Interfax) - Moscow's Tverskoi District Court has sanctioned the arrest in absentia of Moldovan entrepreneur Veaceslav Platon, a defendant in the case involving the siphoning of over 37 billion rubles out of Russia by the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, on Wednesday.

"The court granted the investigator's motion to impose a measure of restraint on Platon in the form of arrest in absentia. The period of arrest is two months from the date of the actual detention of the defendant or his extradition to Russia," the court press service told Interfax.

The Tverskoi District Court earlier sanctioned Plahotniuc's arrest in absentia on the same charge. Both men were declared internationally wanted.

According to the Interior Ministry, Plahotniuc and Platon, who both hold Russian citizenship, had organized an international crime syndicate that operated large-scale illegal currency transactions. According to the investigators, the defendants siphoned over 37 billion rubles abroad. Russian and Moldovan citizens are accused of being members of the crime syndicate.

A second case against Plahotniuc is being investigated.

Russian Interior Ministry spokesperson Irina Volk said earlier that Russia had charged Plahotniuc in absentia with the organization of a crime syndicate, and his confidant, professional athlete Constantin Tutu, with involvement in a crime ring and 28 counts of smuggling and illegal sales of especially large amounts of narcotic drugs.

The investigation determined that Plahotniuc, "with his ability to influence the political situation and government bodies, using criminal methods to influence individuals who opposed him, with the purposes of personal enrichment, entered into criminal collusion with organized crime leaders in the Republic of Moldova, including those occupying top positions in the criminal hierarchy," Volk said.

Russian investigators determined that Plahotniuc became one of the leaders of a trans-national criminal drug syndicate no later than in 2012 and provided protection to its members, she said.