Moldova. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the country was in deep political crisis during
the year following a major high-level fraud. The central
bank had discovered that three banks paid out approximately SEK 9 billion just before the parliamentary elections in
November 2014. Summaries corresponding to one-seventh of the
country's GDP had been rolled out without eco-crimea or US
accountants being able to track where they went.
The banking system was shaken, pension funds were
threatened and the EU-friendly government parties that won
the election were questioned. Executives at the Financial
Supervisory Authority and the central bank were dismissed,
but there were suspicions of responsibility higher up.
The State Prosecutor opened an investigation, several
people were arrested and others got their assets frozen. The
lost money was expected to increase government debt, and the
currency leu had lost over 40% of its value from November to
At the beginning of the year, the Liberal Democrats and
the Democratic Party agreed to form a minority coalition
without the Liberals' former partner. Instead, the coalition
received voting support from the Communist Party when new
Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici was approved by Parliament in
But the banking scandal triggered popular protests
directed at the government. During the spring, large
demonstrations were held in the capital Chişinău against the
corruption demanding that the money be returned. In May,
tens of thousands of protesters gathered.
In June, the new Prime Minister Gaburici was forced to
resign, after it was revealed that he had forged a
certificate of his education. Foreign Minister Natalia
Gherman became acting head of government.
The coalition parties were successful in the local
elections in June, and in July a new national government was
formed, including the Liberals. A new Prime Minister was
elected Liberal Democrat Valeriu Streleț, who was supported
by a scarce majority, 52 of Parliament's 101 members. The
new government explained that its priority was to fight
corruption and to find the lost bank billions.
The poor Moldavians felt the consequences of the power
elite's corruption. The central bank's support for the
looted banks decreased the value of the currency, inflation
increased and credit was tightened. The loan rate was
gradually increased during the year from 4.5% to 17.5%. Gas,
electricity and district heating became more expensive. The
World Bank kept promised budget support, and foreign lenders
pressed the government to close the three emptied banks.
Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon declared that the
EU-friendly government will end "where it belongs - in
court". The loans taken in the three banks were reportedly
sold to a British shell company and then to a Latvian
businessman in Scotland, but the documentation disappeared
when a van was set on fire in a refusal. The scandal was
seen as a logical consequence of the deeply rooted
corruption. Over 40% of the companies were reported to pay
bribes to obtain building permits. Foreign investors were
discouraged at a time when the economy was crying out for
stimulus, after the Russian economic downturn hit Moldova's
exports and Moldava's income abroad.
In September new major protests were held in Chişinău
against the banking scandal and corruption, and tent camps
were erected on the National Square. The Governor of the
Central Bank was forced to leave his post.
In October, the banking scandal took a dramatic turn when
the Liberal Democrat and former Prime Minister Vlad Filat
were arrested in Parliament on suspicion of involvement in
the fraud. Protesters had then blocked the exits to prevent
Filat from leaving the building. The opposition demanded a
vote of no confidence in the government, but before the vote
was taken, also an opposition politician, Renato Usatii,
leader of the Prosperan Party, was arrested. He was charged
with illegal eavesdropping, after recording phone calls that
were said to prove the corruption.
Usatii, who had led the protests against the National
Square government, posted recordings of telephone
conversations on the Internet that were said to prove how
Vlad Filat asked for bribes from a businessman accused of
being the brain behind the bank fraud. Usatii deliberately
violated the law in the public interest.
The government lost the vote of no confidence, with 65 of
the 101 members supporting it, since the Democrats jumped
off the government side and made common cause with the
Prorian opposition parties. Thus, a new government must be
formed within three months, otherwise new elections will
In December, Ion Sturza was nominated new Prime Minister.
Parliament would vote on his candidacy after the New Year.