Thirty-eight-year-old Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici has made a lot of reform promises. But after seeing hundreds of millions of dollars vanish in a banking scandal, Moldovan taxpayers’ patience is wearing thin.
Popular frustration with Moldova’s corruption woes – the country ranks in surveys as one of Eastern Europe’s most graft-inclined countries – bubbled over earlier this month after the release of a report commissioned by the National Bank of Moldova. The report analyzed the November 2014 collapse of three Moldovan banks – the privately run Unibank, Banca Sociala and Banca de Economii, in which the state held a minority share.
Prepared by the US-based consultancy firm Kroll, the report implicated 28-year-old Moldovan multimillionaire businessman Ilan Shor in a complex web of fraudulent deposits to the three banks that, in turn, supplied money to Shor’s businesses. The National Bank of Moldova ultimately loaned the trio 16 billion leu (over $908.6 million) in a failed effort to keep them afloat.
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Victoria Puiu is a journalist who writes for the weekly newspaper Timpul (Times) in Chisinau, Moldova.