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Sputnik Moldova news agency’s head suspected of involvement in money laundering

Vladimir Novosadiuc told reporters that after questioning, he was released and issued a travel ban for 60 days

CHISINAU, September 17. /TASS/. Head of Sputnik Moldova news agency Vladimir Novosadiuc is suspected of involvement in fraud and money laundering through entities of Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor, Moldova’s anti-corruption prosecutor’s office told TASS on Tuesday.

"The anti-corruption prosecutor’s office and the National Anti-Corruption Center have searched 21 offices and residences of persons under criminal investigation involving MPs Reghina Apostolova and Marina Tauber. The house of Mr. Vladimir Novosadiuc, director of Sputnik Moldova who is suspected of involvement in fraud and money laundering, has also been searched," the prosecutor’s office noted.

Novosadiuc told reporters that after questioning, he was released and issued a travel ban for 60 days. The prosecutor’s office stated that "information obtained during searches is being compiled, the details will follow later."

Novosadiuc’s name is mentioned in a report of the international agency Kroll, which investigated the embezzlement of one billion euros from Moldova’s banks. Along with Novosadiuc, the report mentions the names of Marina Trauber and Reghina Apostolova, members of Moldova’s parliament with the Sor party, who were arrested on Monday.

Moldova’s acting Prosecutor General Dmitry Robu told the parliament on Monday that being shareholders of one of the country’s banks, Trauber and Apostolova joined a criminal group led by businessman Ilan Shor, who, in June 2017, was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for being involved in embezzling one billion euro from three Moldovan banks. Shor however challenged the sentence and was placed under judicial control until the final verdict. In this period, he established a party and was elected to the country’s parliament.

A new majority was formed in the Moldovan parliament in June when parties consolidated against oligarch and ex-leader of the Democratic Party Vladimir Plahotniuc, who actually controlled the country’s government. After that, Plahotniuc and his team, including Shor, fled the country. According to the Moldovan interior ministry, Plahotniuc, who waived his parliament seat in late July, is currently staying in the United States. Shor, who was stripped of immunity and put on the wanted list in August, is reportedly staying in Israel.