CHISINAU, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat has sent a letter to the country’s law-enforcement agencies, asking them to keep him informed of a probe into suspected Russian money laundering through Moldova’s state-controlled Banca de Economii, the government’s press office reported on Monday.
The Moldovan authorities launched an investigation after UK-based investment firm Hermitage Capital sent a letter to the National Anti-Corruption Center in June, saying Russian officials had laundered 5.4 billion rubles ($180 million) of stolen tax money through Banca de Economii in 2008.
The money laundering case is linked to a $230 million tax fraud uncovered by Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky worked for Hermitage Capital and was arrested on tax evasion charges in November 2008, just days after he accused police investigators of being involved in the fraud. He died in a pre-trial detention center in Moscow after almost a year in custody.
Moldova has become the sixth country to launch a probe into the high profile tax fraud case. Switzerland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are conducting similar investigations.