18:12 GMT +321 March 2018
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    Scottish Lawmaker 'Astonished' at Links to Moldova's Missing Billions

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    A lawmaker in Scotland has told Sputnik he is "astonished" that Scotland has emerged as being home to a number of shell companies used to allegedly channel millions of dollars out of the Moldovan banking system.

    Moldova has been in a financial and political crisis and it has now emerged that Scottish shell companies are among a number of companies named after the Moldovan Government hired corporate investigators Kroll to look into the fraud at the three Moldovan banks involved, Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank.

    The Moldovan banking system has seen more than a billion dollars channeled out of the country through a series of fake loans.

    The history of Moldovan shell companies appearing in Scotland goes back to 2011, during a series of hostile takeovers of banks in Moldova between 2011-2012. In that year, the very well-connected Moldovan businessman Calin Corjan set up a company at the Edinburgh address 39-43 Duke Street. 

    Kroll's report names Edinburgh companies Victoria Invest Limited, Financial Investments Corporation Limited, and Maxpower Invest Limited as being connected to the alleged expropriation and subsequent transfer of Moldovan money.

    According to documents produced by a London high court disclosure order, seen by bne IntelliNews, Maxpower Invest Limited was registered at the 41 Duke Street, Edinburgh address, while Financial Investments Corporation Limited was registered at the 71 Brunswick Street address. The nominee shareholder in Maxpower Invest was listed in the documents with an Edinburgh address at 18/2 Royston Mains Street.

    Astonishing Industrial Scale

    Hugh Henry, the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Renfrewshire South and who sits on the Justice Committee told Sputnik: "What is astonishing is the industrial scale of what's going on here. Hundreds, if not thousands, of companies registered to a handful of addresses in Edinburgh.

    "It is clearly worrying that the rules are being used in that way. I think the UK Government needs to look at whether or not rules need to be tightened. What I find puzzling about this is why Scotland, in particular, has a huge number registered. It's disproportionally higher compared to England."

    He called for a review of legislation, better information about the companies to be made public and an investigation by Police Scotland and the Crown Office to see if there were any criminal activities involved.

    He told Sputnik on Friday: "We can't allow this to continue. It damages Edinburgh's and Scotland's reputation as a centre of financial excellence. But worse than that, the facility to rip off poor countries whose assets have been stolen from under their noses is just frankly unacceptable and Scotland and the UK should not be part of it."


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