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THE ELEMENTS OF GENERAL LIABILITY

REPORT IN REGARDS TO THE ”HEIST OF


THE CENTURY” CASE FROM THE
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

Lecturer Dr. Boantă Vasile-Adrian

Nicolaescu Cristina

Mariș Andrei

Abstract

Through this paper we wish to adress a concern of great importance, namely a matter
that threatens the financial and political stability of the Republic of Moldova. At this very
moment, the country struggles through the hardest period since the horrid days of the Soviet
Union. What transpires in the present within the borders of this country looks more like a lost
echo of past events, which have changed the image of this country all around the world.

The Republic of Moldova is a ticking time bombready to explode at any moment, after no
more than a year after when, within its banking system the greatest fraud of the history has been
committed, a theft which representsabout an eighth of its entire GDP.

Key words:heist, crisis, banking system, The”Carousel” scheme, BEM


Moldova, the victim of a heist like no other
The entire scandal has erupted when, in the year 2014,Banca Centrală a Moldoveihas
uncovered that three institutions, which areBanca Economică, Banca Socială and Unibank,
represent one third of the Moldavian banking assets and have granted credits at an estimated 1
billion dollars.Thoseactions have not just lowered the national GDP by an astounding 15%1, as
only withinBanca Economică, the state held approximately 56% of the shares, but have
alsodisplaced 3,500 workers,leaving them with the fear of an unstable tomorrow, as the state is
unable to offer those workers a working place in their respective area of speciality.As a
consequence of those events, the International Monetary Fund demands the dissolution of the
three banking entities with the intent of signing a new memorandum with the state ofMoldova.2

”A guide on how to steal one billion dollars”


An estimated 1 billion dollar has been stolen from Moldova’s treasury through that which
is known as “The BEM scheme”.

There are three main questions in regards to the problem at hand: ”Who stole the
money?”,”Where are they?” and”How was it possible?”.

The Mass Media, as well as the politicians have tied the theft of the money from Banca
Economică to two names: Ilan Shor and Vlad Filat.

Vlad Filat, ex-prime minister and administrator of the ”Caravita” company, has managed
to pledge within the bank controlled by Ilan Shor land which was not covering, by far, the value
of the granted loans of approximately 500 million lei, which could be covered by evidence,
despite the fact that those sums of money were much higher.

1
HotNews.ro, ”A fost facut public Raportul Kroll despre "Furtul Secolului" din Republica Moldova. Un sistem de
tip suveica a lasat bancile in doar trei zile fara 750 milioane de dolari, transferati in firme off-shore”, 05.05.2015,
accessed on http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-international-20075174-fost-facut-public-raportul-kroll-despre-furtul-
secolului-din-republica-moldova-doar-3-zile-din-noiembrie-cateva-srl-uri-primit-750-mil-dolari-trimise-apoi-
conturi-ale-unor-firme-off-shore.htmon 03.12.2015
2
Știrile TVR,”Chişinău: Băncile implicate în Jaful Secolului vor fi lichidate”, 07.08.2015,http://stiri.tvr.ro/chisinau-
-bancile-implicate-in-jaful-secolului-vor-fi-lichidate_63758.html, accessed on 03.12.2015
On 30 April 2014, Ilan Shor has been deemed Chief of the Administration Council
through an anonymous vote.3A few days earlier, on 25 April 2014, the equity stake of the BEM
has been purchased by the State Bank of the Russian Federation “Vnesheconombank”. As a
result, the state’s share within the capital of the BEMhas diminished from 56% la 33,38%, after
the additional share emission, which occurred in 29 August 2013.In this way, the government
has voluntarily lost 20% of the institution’s shares, which was taken by the company with
foreign capital “International Integrated Systems LTD”, who’s beneficiary is the “Constanta”
company from Russia.4

On 29.05.2015, anticorruption attorney Adrian Popenco assumed that ”the de-


capitalization of the BEM was orchestrated by an organized group, which has influenced both
the BEM’s Administration Council and the state’s institutions.”5

Veaceslav Ioniță explains the fraudulent scheme, which is to be examined taking into
consideration the following data:”If until 2013 the inter-banking credits were equally distributed
between all the banks, since 2014 it is observable that 75 – 80% of them are focused at a single
bank.Out of the 13 billion lei, approximately 11 billion are granted to a single bank, which is the
Social Bank. On the opposite side, we can see that another ”hero” bank, namely the BEM, from
13 billion lei, it has granted 11 billion.”6

The money removed trough served as an initial sum of which the perpetrators were in
need to begin the old scheme nicknamed by economistsas”the Carousel”. Through this
scheme,the retrieval of 17 billion lei from the state’s treasurywas made possible.

Thus, having a starting capital gained with the political help of Vlad Filat through Ilan
Shor, the money reach Moscowand ended up in a third class bank.In return for the deposit, the

3
Unimedia, “Ilan Shor a devenit official președinte al Consiliului Băncii de Economii”, 30.04.2014, accessed on
http://unimedia.info/stiri/ilan-shor-a-devenit-oficial-presedinte-al-consiliului-bancii-de-economii-75764.html, on
04.12.2015
4
Agora, “O altă bancă din Moldova a vândut un pachet important de acțiuni”, 25.04.2014, accessed on
http://agora.md/stiri/997/o-alta-banca-din-moldova-a-vandut-un-pachet-important-de-actiuni, on 04.12.2015
5
Social, “Cercetarea penală pecazul jafului de la cele trei bănci va fi extinsă”, 29.05.2015, accessed on
http://www.trm.md/ro/social/cercetarea-penala-pe-cazul-jafului-de-la-cele-trei-banci-va-fi-extinsa/, on 04.12.2015
6
Emisiunea Observator, 29.01.2015, accessed on http://moldova24.info/2015/01/bem-afacerea-secolului-observator/,
on 04.12.2015
said bank releases a security which proves the existence of such a sum, it being financially
covered. With this paper, Ilan Shor comes at the Social Bank, which he owns. In turn, Banca
Socială demands a banking loanfrom the BEM, which also belongs to Ilan Shor. As aguarantee,
it places the security emitted by the Russian bank. The Social Banktakes in cash money the
equivalent of the security, which is taken again to Moscow.

The Muscovites offer him another security. The process is repeated tens of times, and
from the accounts of the BEM, through the inter-banking credits, at least 11 billion lei have been
retrieved. Thus, the money from the BEM accounts have found their way into Russia, and the
BEM has obtained a stack of uncovered securities.At this point, the money from Russia has
already left for a number of off-shore companies, a simple scheme which has easedthe state of a
severalbillion lei.7

After reliable information begun to emerge, there were people who did everything in
their power to erase any reliable evidence, such as in the case of the stolen car, where a BEM car,
bearing a significant amount of BEM documents has been stolen and burned near the forest of
Ialoveni, alongside with all the documents relating to the inter-banking loans fraudulentscheme,
after which 11 billion lei werestolen from Moldova.8

The aftermath of the storm


At a social level, the population has been struck hard, as the sudden unfolding of those
events have caused a depreciation of the national currency in relation to foreign currency, which
culminated into a colossal increase in prices and into a higher grade of impoverishment of the
populace, thusresulting in a massive decrease in the quality of life.

Under a moral aspect, the Moldavian society has received a blow like no other since
obtaining its independence from the Soviet Union. The unprecedented acts of the political elite
have darkened the population’s hope for a better future for their country, as it can be seen in the

7
Timpul.md, “(JAFUL SECOLULUI) Cum au dispărut miliardele de la BEM?”, 24.02.2015, accessed on
http://www.timpul.md/articol/(jaful-secolului)-cum-au-disparut-miliardele-de-la-bem-70329.html, on 04.12.2015
8
Livenews, ”CONFIRMAT OFICIAL! Documentele BEM furate și arse într-o maşină a incasatorilor.
PROCURATURA INVESTIGHEAZĂ CAZUL!”, 30.01.2015, accessed on http://livenews.md/confirmat-oficial-
documentele-bem-furate-si-arse-intr-o-masina-incasatorilor-procuratura-investigheaza-cazul/, on 04.12.2015
political instability that the country has suffered since 2009, when those obtaining the titles of
prime minister and president were rapidly demoted and replaced in mere months or even weeks.
For the people of Moldova, the future becamebleaker by the day.

According to the statistical data published by the Central Bank of Moldova, it is


observable thatin 2014, the rate of inflation was maintainable within the variation interval of 6.5
– 3.5%, which corresponded with the Central Bank’s strategy of monetary policy. Since the start
of 2015, the situation has spiralled out of control. Thus, the annual inflation rate has increased
from 4.7% in January 2015 to 13.2% in October 2015, as consequence of the massive thefts.9

In order to cover the gap made by the removal of several billions of leifrom the
Moldavian economic circuit, the National Bank has utilised the additional monetary emission in
order to grant loans to those three banks, which are to be placed under special administration.

Mr. Alexandru Fală, director of the Monetary Sector and Economic Modellingfrom the
Analytical Centre Expert Group program claims that the course of action undertaken by the
National Bank should be analysed from multiple perspectives, for if the multiple billions of lei
were withdrawn from Moldavia’s economic circuit, this emission doing nothing but to
compensate for the offset emission which was unused or went abroad. Thus, the gap created
within the economy could have been closed. Unfortunately, until this day, no answer was given
on whether the money has left the country or not.

It is this reason why we should be concerned about the relationship between the state and
the National Bank, as a result for the decision of granting the three banks the necessary loans. If
those sums will not be returned, the debt will be transformed into debt securities,which are to be
included in the budgetary expenditure. The very same sum of money will be paid by the
citizens.10

The National Bank has intervened by granting at least two credits. In the first case, the
Leancă Government has allowed the National Bank to intervene through the granting of

9
National Bank of Moldova, ”Inflation”,November2015, accessed on
http://www.bnm.md/en/content/inflation?inflation-yearly-full, on 03.12.2015
10
Agora, “BNM a efectuat o emisie monetară suplimentară pentru a acorda credite băncilor cu probleme”,
03.06.2015, accessed on http://agora.md/stiri/9458/bnm-a-efectuat-o-emisie-monetara-suplimentara-pentru-a-
acorda-credite-bancilor-cu-problemeon 03.12.2015
”emergency loans amounting to 9,5 billion lei, in order to assure financial stability of the
financial system and of the issue of state guarantees, with the intent of guaranteeing the
emergency credits.”11

The second ”slice” was already granted by the Gaburici Government at the end of March.
This information has been disclosed by the head of the PSRM, Igor Dodon. This time, it was of
about 6 billion lei. The information has not been officially confirmed, despite the fact that in the
parliamentary hearing of early May, in a dialogue between Valeriu Munteanu and Chiril
Gaburici, Mr. Gaburici has indirectly confirmed the existence of such document.

The head of the PSRM, Igor Dodon, has claimed on 12 Maythat another sum of money
will be allocated in order to cover the ”thefts from the banks”. Thus, according to the
calculations, there exist 9.5 billion lei officially confirmed through documents, about 6 billion lei
which the Premier Gaburici has hinted towards and an amount between 4 and 5 billion lei about
which nothing is known, but which is conveyed by the PSRM President.12

Regarding the internal situation of the Moldavian political life, the ”Heist” has
downgraded the image of the state and its institutions in the eyes of its populace, as they
haveperceived the government of being corrupt and unable to protect both thestate funds the
privatemoney.13

However, the greatest strugglethat the state of Moldova has to cope with at this moment
is to assure its position within the future political life of the European Union. On an international
political level,the failure wrought by the carelessness of the Government and of the Moldavian
Central Bank threatens to endangerMoldova’s plan aimed towards its integration within the
European Union, as it was laid by the rulingcoalition known as the ”Alliance for European
Integration”, an alliance composed by the Liberal Democratic Party, the Liberal Party, the

11
REPUBLICA MOLDOVA GUVERNUL, ”Hotărîre Nr. 938”, 13.11.2014, accessed on
http://lex.justice.md/viewdoc.php?action=view&view=doc&id=358103&lang=1, on 03.12.2015
12
Agora, ”Câți bani au fost scoși din ”pușculița statului” pentru a salva BEM, BS și Unibank?”¸ 26.05.2015,
accessed on http://agora.md/stiri/9144/cati-bani-au-fost-scosi-din-pusculita-statului-pentru-a-salva-bem--bs-si-
unibank, on 03.12.2015
13
Jurnal.md, ”Jaful secolului – simbolul declinului Republicii Moldova; Care sunt cele mai drastice consecințe”,
24.08.2015, accessed on http://www.jurnal.md/ro/politic/2015/8/24/jaful-secolului-simbolul-declinului-republicii-
moldova-care-sunt-cele-mai-dramatice-consecinte/, on 04.12.2015
Democratic Party and Our Moldova Alliance, which ruled between the year of 2009 and until the
year 2013, with the intent of facilitating a seat for the Republic of Moldova within the European
Union.With the suddenfall of thecoalition, Moldova’s place within the European Union might be
compromised, and as such, many voices have risen, claiming that the upcoming Coalition within
the Parliament will be comprised by left wing parties. As a consequence, the state could be
forced to switch its vector of strategic orientation towards the east.14 However,Moldova’s
chances to adhere to the European Union in the future have not disappearedcompletely, as the
Republic’s future now rests in the hands of the current Prime Minister, Mr. Gheorghe Brega.It is
speculated that if he can maintain some sort of political stability and a relevant position of the
Alliance for European Integration III, the state of Moldovawill still hold a chance of integration
within the European Union in the future.

According to the 25 September 2015 World Governance Indicators of Moldova’s overall


situation, between the years of 2012 and 2014, even before the banking scandal was brought into
the eyes of the world, Moldova’sControl of Corruption has declined tremendously, reaching a
level which is no different than that of countries like Liberia, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mali, Benin
and others alike. As such,regarding the ill situation of the country,not only the population of
Moldova, but also many voices abroadclaim that a major factor, if not the main reason for the
state’s rapid decline is its political elite, who were deemed incapable of efficiently running the
country.15

14
Știrile TVR, ”Cazul ”Filat”. Dan Dungaciu: Consecința ar putea fi destrămarea Alianței pentru Integrarea
Europeană”, 15.10.2015, accessed athttp://stiri.tvr.ro/cazul-filat--dan-dungaciu--consecinta-ar-putea-fi-destramarea-
aliantei-pentru-integrarea-europeana_66389.html, on 04.12.2015
15
The World Bank, ”Launching the System of Anti-corruption in Moldova”,09.10.2015, accessed
athttp://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2015/10/09/relaunching-the-system-of-anti-corruption-in-
moldovaaccessed on03.12.2015
Conclusions
About 3,5million citizens of the Republicof Moldova have been openly robbed, for the
news regarding the greatest ”heist of the century” have appeared on every television, even
though no one hastruly beenpunishedfor those actions. The country has entered into a very
serious financial crisis,which has determined the populationto enter into a state of panic unheard
of before.

Right now we bear witness to theserious downfall of the economy. The financial sources
have been reduced to a half overnight and the salaries have lost their purchasing power.The
explanation for those events is actually this theft, committed on November 2014, and we are
unable to expect anything better than the current situation, taking into consideration that the theft
was an action of great proportions, the1 billion dollarsrepresenting about 15% of the country’s
GDP, respectively 58% of the budgetary income of the year 2014.It is nigh impossible for the
country to repair such a financial gap through its own financial resources.

Yet, the most grievous aspect of the problem at hand is that the representatives of the
state have tried to obtain this money from the pockets of the populace.Overnight, the National
Bank has abruptly raised the value of the Euro and of the Dollar. The panicked populace has
rushed to buy Euros and Dollars. After a few days,when the banks were deprived of all currency,
the National Bank has switched tactics – overnight, the Moldavian Leu has suddenlyrisen. On the
second day, the Currency Exchanges were deprived of all liquid currencies.

It is hard to understand why the populace of Moldova must pay for the frauds committed
by the great mobsters, who came to lead this country.We are convinced that they must carry the
weight of the burdens caused by their actions.

We also support the will of the masses, who have manifested through numberless protests
during the course of the lasts months, with the aid of the Civic Platform ”Truth and Dignity” – an
opposition movement created by journalists, politologists and militants of the Civil Society from
the Republic of Moldova, as a response to the dissatisfaction of the populace towards the
political parties.

The irresponsibility and the hypocrisy that the authorities have showed is un-
conceivable.Many other events,likethe plunging on a road of a bag containing 1 billion lei from
the car of the BEM collectorsor of anything else cannot be seen as mere inattention, and as such,
encourage us to think that the authorities are responsible and have to answer for their deeds and
for plunging the Republic of Moldova into a crisis like none it has endured before.

Bibliography

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băncilor cu probleme”, 03.06.2015, accessed at http://agora.md/stiri/9458/bnm-a-
efectuat-o-emisie-monetara-suplimentara-pentru-a-acorda-credite-bancilor-cu-probleme
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Unibank?”¸ 26.05.2015, accessed athttp://agora.md/stiri/9144/cati-bani-au-fost-scosi-din-
pusculita-statului-pentru-a-salva-bem--bs-si-unibank, on 03.12.2015
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afacerea-secolului-observator/, on 04.12.2015
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Republica Moldova. Un sistem de tip suveica a lasat bancile in doar trei zile fara 750
milioane de dolari, transferati in firme off-shore”, 05.05.2015, accessed at
http://www.hotnews.ro/stiri-international-20075174-fost-facut-public-raportul-kroll-
despre-furtul-secolului-din-republica-moldova-doar-3-zile-din-noiembrie-cateva-srl-uri-
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drastice consecințe”, 24.08.2015, accessed at
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moldova-care-sunt-cele-mai-dramatice-consecinte/, on 04.12.2015
7. Livenews, ”CONFIRMAT OFICIAL! Documentele BEM furate și arse într-o maşină a
incasatorilor. PROCURATURA INVESTIGHEAZĂ CAZUL!”, 30.01.2015, accessed at
http://livenews.md/confirmat-oficial-documentele-bem-furate-si-arse-intr-o-masina-
incasatorilor-procuratura-investigheaza-cazul/, on 04.12.2015
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03.12.2015
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de-la-cele-trei-banci-va-fi-extinsa/, on 04.12.2015
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miliardele-de-la-bem-70329.html, on 04.12.2015
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al-consiliului-bancii-de-economii-75764.html, on 04.12.2015

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