Ilan Şor is a central figure in an allegedly complex money-laundering scheme that cost Moldovan taxpayers nearly $1 billion. But the 28-year-old businessman seems unfazed by controversy: three months ago, he became mayor of Moldova’s regional town of Orhei, and has recast himself as a “mayor-investor.”
So far, most locals seem to accept him that way.
The makeover of Şor, an Israeli-born multimillionaire, underscores the challenges confronting Moldova as it strives to clean up government and create a firewall between office holders and business.
Şor was placed under house arrest earlier this year after an investigation for the National Bank of Moldova named him as a prime suspect in a series of fraudulent loans by the private Unibank, Banca Sociala and Banca de Economii that cost Moldovan taxpayers some 16 billion lei (now about $804 million). A former board chair of the Banca de Economii, he faces charges of abuse of power.
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