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Vladimir Plahotniuc

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Vladimir Plahotniuc
Vlad Plahotniuc.jpg
Member of the Moldovan Parliament
In office
December 2010 – October 2013
In office
December 2014 – July 2015
First Deputy Speaker of the Moldovan Parliament
In office
30 December 2010 – 15 February 2013
Preceded by Serafim Urechean
Succeeded by function abolished
Personal details
Born (1966-01-01) 1 January 1966 (age 52)
Pitușca, Moldovan SSR, Soviet Union
Citizenship Moldova
Romania[1]
Political party Democratic Party of Moldova
Spouse(s) Oxana Plahotniuc
Children 2 sons (Timofei and Inochentie)
Alma mater Technical University of Moldova
Occupation Politician, businessman, philanthropist
Website http://www.plahotniuc.md/

Vladimir Plahotniuc (born 1 January 1966), commonly known as Vlad Plahotniuc, is a controversial Moldovan politician, businessman, philanthropist[citation needed] and oligarch. He is the current chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova and previously was member of the Parliament of Moldova in two terms (December 2010 – October 2013, December 2014 – July 2015), and served as First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Moldova (December 2010 – February 2013). He is considered to be the powerhouse of Moldovan politics, in matter of influence,[2] controlling Moldova’s government and parliamentary majority.[3][4][5] He is one of the wealthiest people in Moldova,[6][7] if not the wealthiest one.[8][9][10] According to his op-ed, he declares himself as a huge supporter of EU integration and strengthening the relations with the west.[11] However, Moldovan journalist Natalia Morari notes, "Nobody considers Plahotniuc pro-European. He is pro-Plahotniuc and pro-corruption."[12]

Early life and education

Plahotniuc was born on 1 January 1966 in Pitușca, Călărași District, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union (now Moldova). As he stated in an interview, a strong footprint in his education was left by his parents and grandparents.[13] He attended the Grozești village secondary school, in Nisporeni District. In 1983 he graduated this institution with a Cum Laude diploma.[14] In 1991 he graduated the Technical University of Moldova with a bachelor's degree in Engineering, at the Food Industry Technology Faculty.[14] In 2002 he obtained an MBA degree at the same university.[15] In 2006 he obtained a master's degree in Civil Law at the European Studies University of Moldova.[14]

Career

During 1991-1993, he held the position of specialist at the "Minor" Center for prevention and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders, affiliated with the Chișinău City Hall.[14] He held the position of economist at "Euro EstHundel" Ltd Moldova, then he worked at "Voyage" Ltd Moldova. In 1995-1998 he founded "Angels" Moldovan-American Financial Group, which he managed until 2001.[15] From 2001 to 2010 he held the position of Commercial Manager and afterwards he was the General Manager of "Petrom Moldova" JSC, dealing with oil import and distribution.[15] Starting in 2005 he was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Board at "Victoriabank " commercial bank, one of the leading banks of Moldova and in 2006 he became its Chairman, a position held until January 2011.[14][16] Since then, he has been focusing on his political career, as a member of the Democratic Party of Moldova. In 2015, he officially founded a large media company, including General Media Group and Radio Media Group[17][18][19][20]

Political activity

In 2014, during parliamentary elections in Moldova, Plahotniuc described his motivation to enter politics this way: “I entered politics with my business in place. I wanted to give something back, not the other way round.” [21] The New York Times refers to Plahotniuc as a "nominally pro-Western tycoon with a reputation so toxic that even his political friends usually try to keep their distance in public."[22].

Work with the Pro-Russian Communist Party

In an interview with a former Moldovan Parliamentary deputy, Plahotniuc was able to win the trust of Vladimir Voronin, the pro-Russian head of Moldova’s Communist party. The former deputy noted that during Voronin’s presidency of Moldova (2001-2009) Plahotniuc “became known among Voronin's closest friends and confidants as the ‘party's wallet’. For his services, he received preferential treatment in business, and soon nobody but Plahotniuc himself could work out exactly where his money ended and that of the ‘party’s wallet’ began.” [23]

On the evening of 19 November 2010, during the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Party of Moldova, it has been decided to include Vladimir Plahotniuc on the 2nd spot on their electoral party list.[24] As result, he delegated the administration of his businesses to his managers in order to be able to dedicate himself to politics.[25] He became member of the Parliament in December 2010,[26] position held until October 2013, when he resigned.[27][28][29] On 30 December 2010, during the Democratic Party National Political Council session, Vladimir Plahotniuc was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova.[30] On the same day he was elected as the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.[14] He was also elected as member of the Commission of Economy, Budget and Finance within the Parliament of Moldova. On 19 May 2011, by Presidential decree, Marian Lupu founded the National Council for the Judiciary Reform which included Vladimir Plahotniuc as Vice Chairman.[31] In June 2012, Plahotniuc became First Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova.[32] On 15 February 2013, Vlad Plahotniuc received a vote of no confidence from the parliamentary factions of PLDM and PCRM, and with the votes of 73 out of 101 MPs the office of First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Moldova was abolished, with Plahotniuc immediately resigning from this position. He, then, asked Prime Minister Vlad Filat to resign as well.[33][34] In late October 2013 he resigned from the position of member of Parliament.[35]

In December 2014, Plahotniuc was elected again as member of Parliament, and in July 2015 he resigned again from this position,[36][37][38] "in order to focus his political activity on reforming the party", as he stated.

On 15 October 2015, on the day Vlad Filat was detained as part of the ongoing investigation into the banking fraud scandal, Plahotniuc has announced via a Facebook post that he auto-suspends himself from the position of First Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, and also from the position of a member of this party, as he said: "... to no let appear insinuations that he influences the investigation in the bank fraud case, and to not cause damage to the image of the party (PDM)".[39][40]

On 13 January 2016 Plahotniuc was proposed for the position of Prime Minister of Moldova by the Democratic Party, but his candidacy was rejected by the Moldovan President, Nicolae Timofti. In an official statement, Timofti noted that "Plahotniuc fails to meet the criteria of a candidate for the post of prime minister." He further specified that among the conditions for prime minister, the candidates "integrity should not cause doubt."[41][42]

On 24 December 2016, during the 8th Democratic Party Congress, Plahotniuc was elected as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova.[43] On March 6, 2017, Plahotniuc announced that his party would propose a new electoral system for the Parliament- the uninominal voting system.[44][45][46] Two months later, on 10 May, he announced party’s position to completely support the Government in its reform of the central administration.[47] In a press briefing, stated only nine ministries will remain out of the existing sixteen.[48][46]

In March 2017 Vlad Plahotniuc was elected as deputy president of the Socialist International at the XXVth congress of the organization, taking place from 2 to 4 March in Cartagena, Columbia. Thus he joined the leadership of the Socialist International, chaired by George Papandreou, the President of the Socialist International and Luis Ayala, the Secretary General of the Socialist International, who were also reelected for the next four years.[49]

In July 2017 at the Congress of Socialist International, in his speech Plahotniuc demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from eastern Moldova.[50]

Parliamentary diplomacy

Vlad Plahotniuc with Victor Ponta

As First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc had a number of working visits abroad.[51]
[52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]

Plahotniuc is a member of the Interparliamentary Assembly of CIS member states; Parliamentary Friendship Group with Switzerland, Hellenic Republic and Hungary.[14]

As First Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, which is a member of The Party of European Socialists (PES) and of the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties - The Socialist International,[62] Vlad Plahotniuc met on several occasions with Luis Ayala,[63] the general secretary of Socialist International. Plahotniuc also met with leaders and PES representatives, in Brussels.

Position on foreign relations

Plahotniuc stated in an exclusive interview for Moldovan news website Deschide.md that "the Republic of Moldova will not cancel or renegotiate the Association Agreement with the EU, and will not sign an Agreement with the Euro-Asiatic Union," qualifying the statements made by Igor Dodon in Moscow as purely electioneering rhetoric.[64] Regarding president Igor Dodon's official visit to Moscow, Plahotniuc has committed the Democratic Party to stand firmly for continuing Moldova's commitment to the European Union and maintains that the Moldova – EU relation must stay pivotal for the foreign policy.[65]

On 7 January 2017 Plahotniuc addressed a message to the U.S. president-elect Donald Trump; the statement reflects the party leader's vision: ″Moldova is willing to become a bridge between East and West, not a battleground for the world powers″.[66]

As chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova, he has stood resolute against the long-looming prospect of a Russian-annexed Moldova. The Democratic Party of Moldova has repeatedly reaffirmed its devotion to Western doctrines such as democracy.[67]

Businessman

Vladimir Plahotniuc ran companies in the following domains: oil,[68] financial and banking, hotel business, media and real estate.[69][70]

In a TV interview in 2010 Plahotniuc said he got his "first taste of business success" in 1996, when he and some partners started making wine for export to Russia. Five years later he became sales director at Petrom Moldova, a major oil company. After getting degrees in business management and law, he rose to the company's general directorship. Simultaneously he was elected chairman of one of the biggest commercial banks in the Moldova, Victoriabank.[71]

Plahotniuc is the only owner the company "Prime Management SRL", which was founded in September 2010, and which has earned him revenues of an amount of 34 million lei (cca 7.8 million euro) as of 2015.[72]

The New York Times has called Plahotniuc Moldova's "Most Feared Tycoon".[73] In the Carnegie Report, "The Structure of Corruption in Moldova," Plahotniuc is referred to as controlling Moldova’s network outside of the government and that a central-bank-commissioned report detailing a suspicious transfer of some $1 billion was "seen as a move by the Plahotniuc network to disable its lone competitor, the network around former prime minister Vladimir Filat.[74]

Moldova Business People Association

The launch of the Moldova Business People Association

Prior to his entrance into politics on behalf of the Democratic Party of Moldova, on 26 July 2010, Vladimir Plahotniuc founded the Moldova Business People Association[75] and in two months it launched its activity with an international economic summit, which had Dominique de Villepin, French politician and writer, former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the French Government, as a guest speaker of the event. The list of participants included Vladimir Plahotniuc, the Chairman of MBPA board; Andrian Candu - General Director of MBPA; Valeriu Lazăr - Deputy Prime-Minister, Ministry of Economy and Commerce; Dorin Drăguțanu - Governor of National Bank of Moldova, and many other honorable guests.[76]

On Vladimir Plahotniuc’s initiative, the Moldova Business People Association launched a collaboration with the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, taking into account that research needs support from the business environment.[77][78] On 25 October 2010, during a festive event, the Moldova Business People Association handed out diplomas to the top 100 managers from Moldova.[79]

Criticisms of Business Practices

The New York Times has called Plahotniuc Moldova's "Most Feared Tycoon" [80]. In the Carnegie Report, "The Structure of Corruption in Moldova," Plahotniuc is referred to as controlling Moldova’s network outside of the government and that a central-bank-commissioned report detailing a suspicious transfer of some $1 billion was "seen as a move by the Plahotniuc network to disable its lone competitor, the network around former prime minister Vladimir Filat.[81]

Edelweiss Foundation

Vladimir Plahotniuc together with the children from "Gracious Joseph" Orphanage

Vladimir Plahotniuc is also known as the founder of The Foundation of Vlad Plahotniuc "EDELWEISS", which is involved in implementing various social projects in Moldova.[82]

Founded in 2010, the foundation implemented many cultural projects, book donations, music concerts and artistic events,[83][84][85][86][87] supported Moldovan sportsmen,[88][89][90] provided financial support for people in need of medical care,[91][92][93][94] Thus, flood victims of the summer 2010 Prut River overflowing received financial aid and goods.[95][96][97] People in need from all around the country benefited from the same type of assistance and support.[98][99][100] Edelweiss refurbished the dormitory building of the "Gracious Joseph" Orphanage and donated them various gifts.[101][102][103]

In 2014, Edelweiss started a national scale social campaign, called "Revive Moldova".[104] Initiated to support and encourage mothers of newborn babies by offering bespoke presents, including childcare and other important things that mothers may need. The campaign was launched in July 2016 at the Mother and Child Institute in Chisinau and extended in 2017 to three other maternities in the country: Maternity Hospital Nisporeni, Cahul and Edineț.[105][106] The campaign soon reached its goal: to collect 1 million euros for the reconstruction works and modern medical equipment of the Institute of Mother and Child in Chișinău.[107]

As well, Edelweiss have allocated a lot of resources to development of children playgrounds and invested a lot in rural localities. Under the Edelweiss Parks project, over 40 safe and modern playgrounds for children from different localities of the country were built.[108][109][110]

In 2017, Edelweiss started the project "Respect for Seniors" in partnership with the Austrian Embassy and the “Neoumanist” Education Association. The project aims to improve the living standards of 40 elderly people in Straseni district by providing social and medical services at home.[111][112]

In 2017, the Foundation initiates a project addressed to young high school students in the Republic of Moldova which has the purpose to support the enrichment of the educational environment and to encourage students who achieve good results in education by offering 100 monthly scholarships during the study year 2017-2018.[113][114]

In 2016 the foundation was officially renamed to «Fundația lui Vlad Plahotniuc "EDELWEISS"» (The Foundation of Vlad Plahotniuc "EDELWEISS").[115]

Controversy

Accusation by Interpol of Ties to Russian Organized Crime

Interpol has been monitoring Vladimir Plahotniuc since 2007, and it was reported by Forbes that Interpol believe he is associated with Russia's biggest mafia, Solntsevskaya Bratva. Plahotniuc denies this.[116] The Italian police have also investigated Plahotniuc for money laundering. [117]

Accusation of Murder

According to the respected Russian business daily newspaper Kommersant, Plahotniuc has been accused by a hired assassin of being behind the order to kill a Russian banker in London, German Gorbuntsov. [118] This accusation adds evidence to a previously developing story: Plahotniuc had long been accused of being linked to the "organization of the murder attempt on banker German Gorbuntsov." [119] The hired assassin, Vitaliy Proca (sometimes spelled Proka), had been turned over to Romanian authorities in 2013 from Russia for a separate hired assassination after negotiations of an extradition through Interpol. [120] Proca had previously accused Plahotniuc of arranging the assassination, noting, "Plahotniuc's hands are in blood up to his elbows.” [121] Soon after these statements were made, Proca's wife and brother-in-law were imprisoned, and his wife told the press that she was offered a deal by representatives of Plahotniuc to free them if Proca remained silent. [122]

Accusations of Trafficking Women

Plahotniuc has been widely accused of having been involved in a business of trafficking women for prostitution. [123] [124] [125] While this has not been proven in a court of law, interviews with officials have revealed "in the 1990s he owned a sauna, where he provided businessmen and even diplomats with young prostitutes; Plahotniuc kept a collection of videos to blackmail people and push them to certain deals."[126] . There have been multiple, extensive articles covering these issues by reputable investigative journalists.[127] The New York Times reports that "He has been accused by his foes over the years of multiple crimes, including human trafficking, but not formally charged."[128] [129]

Multiple Passports with Different Names

At the beginning of 2011, shortly after his election in Parliament, Romanian newspaper "Adevărul" unveiled the fact that Plahotniuc has Romanian citizenship, being registered under the name of Vlad Ulinici, and previously as Vladimir Ulinici.[130] He explained this fact by "wanting to protect his children against discrimination during their studies in Romania".[131] Later on, he announced that he requested that his name be changed into Plahotniuc in his Romanian documents as well.[132] For the use of the false identity Vlad Plahotniuc faced criminal prosecution in Romania three years after his double Ulinici/Plahotniuc identity was revealed in newspaper "Adevărul Moldova". As results from the prosecutor's decision to dismiss the criminal case, Vlad Plahotniuc did not face criminal liability in Romania for the use of false identities just because in Republic of Moldova using a false identity is not a crime.[133][134]

Accusation of Theft from Central Bank

Plahotniuc has been named as central figure in the theft of over one billion dollars from Moldova's Central Bank. This accusation was repeated by the former Deputy Director of the anti-money laundering agency in Moldova, Mihail Gofman [135]. The main mastermind, according to the Kroll report, is a man named Ilan Shor, an Israeli-Moldovan citizen who ran a complex scheme to defraud three banks under his control – Unibank, Sociala and the largest of them all, Banca de Economii.[136] However, a near-miracle has occurred since 2014, when the EU and others cut off financial aid, thought to be vital to the poorest nation in Europe. A new government was sworn in and under severe pressure, managed to pull Moldova out of the depths in a very quick period of time. Investigations had been launched, arrested the perpetrators of the massive fraud, including the former prime minister, and secured some important convictions.[137]


Vladimir Plahotniuc acted as the Chairman of "Victoriabank", one of the leading banks in Moldova until January 2011.[14][16] In 2004-2007 Plahotniuc was the unofficial business partner with Viorel and Victor Țopa, together with whom he gained control over bank Victoriabank and Prime TV channel.[138] In September 2010, Victor and Viorel Țopa addressed a memorandum to a number of national and international institutions (17), accusing Plahotniuc of "raider attacks" of July–August 2011 on a number of 4 banks and ASITO assurance company.[139][140] The ex-president of Victoriabank, Victor Ţurcan, affirmed later in an interview that the real crooks in Victoriabank case are Victor and Viorel Ţopa, and they manipulate the public opinion through false statements.[141] Later, by one criminal file for each of Țopa was initiated, and they have fled to Germany, accusing Plahotniuc on political persecution.[142] On 8 March 2017 Plahotniuc published on his Facebook page the Amsterdam Court's decision where is confirmed that Ţopa's accusations about the "raider attack" from Victoriabank are unfounded.[143][144][145]

He has been accused by his foes over the years of multiple crimes, including human trafficking, but not formally charged. The businessman had been cast as a villain by political enemies and unfairly blamed for all the scandals and setbacks in Moldova since pro-Western parties took power in 2009. These include the mysterious disappearance of nearly a billion dollars from the country’s banking system.[146]

According to a declaration of "Antimafia Movement" leader Sergiu Mocanu, Plahotniuc bought this diploma and even a criminal case was opened on this fact, but for unknown reasons was closed.[147] Moldovan media speculated on Sergiu Mocanu's statements, a controversial businessman and politician,[148][149][150] a former counselor with special missions for the former President of Moldova, communist Vladimir Voronin, and named Plahotniuc the "shadow cardinal" of Voronin's family.[1][72] This label was attributed due to an alleged business relationship with the former communist President.[1] Also the media speculated that Plahotniuc supported financially the Communist Party until 2009, and then the Democratic Party since 2010.[1]

According to Bogdan Țîrdea, a political scientist from Moldova, Plahotniuc used his position of general director at Petrom Moldova to get close to then-President Vladimir Voronin and boost his business career. Plahotniuc has denied having close ties with Voronin.[71]

In the spring of 2008, Plahotniuc was tagged "Abramovich of Moldova", and, after the resignation of Vasile Tarlev from office of Prime Minister, Plahotniuc was close to become Prime Minister of Moldova.[151]

Plahotniuc was worth 300 million dollars as stated in the top of wealthiest people published by Ukrainian business magazine "Delo", in August 2010.[16] Money originated from both "Victoriabank" and "Petrom Moldova" activity, where he acted as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors and then general director.[16][152][71] It was suspected at that time to be an agent of SIE.[153] Despite the fact that his name is not mentioned in the founding documents, there is a rumor that Vlad Plahotniuc is the owner of the most luxurious hotel in Chişinău - “Nobil”.[16] It was also said that he owns “Codru” hotel and “Asito” Insurance Company, “Drive” Night Club from Moldova.[16] Moldova Agroindbank is the Codru hotel's current owner,[154] and it announced that the hotel will become the bank's headquarter.[155]

In August 2010 Plahotniuc has stated: "I don't get involved in politics. I'm not interested in running on a party list." However, a few months later he became member of Parliament on the lists of PDM.[1]

At the beginning of 2011, shortly after his election in Parliament, Romanian newspaper "Adevărul" unveiled the fact that Plahotniuc has Romanian citizenship, being registered under the name of Vlad Ulinici, and previously as Vladimir Ulinici.[156] He explained this fact by "wanting to protect his children against discrimination during their studies in Romania".[157] Later on, he announced that he requested that his name be changed into Plahotniuc in his Romanian documents as well.[132] For the use of the false identity Vlad Plahotniuc faced criminal prosecution in Romania three years after his double Ulinici/Plahotniuc identity was revealed in newspaper "Adevărul Moldova". As results from the prosecutor's decision to dismiss the criminal case, Vlad Plahotniuc did not face criminal liability in Romania for the use of false identities just because in Republic of Moldova using a false identity is not a crime.[158][159]

Plahotniuc is seen as an oligarch in Moldova,[160][161][162][163] and was nicknamed "The puppeteer" (Romanian: Păpușarul),[72][164][165] being accused for traffic of influence over all Moldovan political class.[166][167] In June 2015, former Prime Minister of Moldova Ion Sturza, stated in a TV talk-show that "[...] Republic of Moldova is a captured state, and it is controlled by Plahotniuc [...]".[168] On October 2015 Petru Bogatu, a Moldovan op-ed columnist, wrote hard criticism in Plahotniuc's address, stating that he [Plahotniuc] "has usurped the central country's administration", and "has subordindate to him prosecutora and judges, subjugating this way country's constitutional institutions. As a result, he transformed the state into a private firm, and the justice – into a gestapo for the intimidation and burial of his political opponents".[169][153]

Based on various opinion surveys, for several years Plahotniuc was the Moldovan politician with the biggest anti-rating, having been seen by Moldovan citizens as the politician in which they have the less trust and an unfavorable opinion (with up to –87%).[170][171][172] He is known as a key political figure which does not like making public appearances,[173] avoids direct public debates with other political figures,[174][175] and avoids giving interviews to independent or opposition media, despite he took part in two recorded biographical TV shows at his own TV channels: "Seara târziu" with Dorin Scobioală on Prime TV in mid 2010 (his first apparition on TV),[176] and "O zi" with Cristian Tabără on Publika TV in late 2016.[177]

Plahotniuc was accused of violating Moldova's law against media monopolies. Although media ownership is difficult to pin down in Moldova, AO Apollo, a media monitoring group, followed in 2012 a paper trail that led to the Netherlands and Cyprus to unearth evidence that Plahotniuc controls three of Moldova’s six nationwide television channels and two radio stations. The organization asked the country’s broadcast regulator to revoke some of the licenses and assess penalties, but it has also received no response.[71] Later, it became known officially based on formal declaration of General Media Group Corp., which includes the TV channels Publika TV, Prime TV, Canal 2 and Canal 3,[178][179][180][181][182] and also the radio stations Publika FM, Maestro FM and MUZ FM (former Prime FM), that the only shareholder of the holding is Vladimir Plahotniuc.[183][178][184][185]

In early May 2016 Plahotniuc went in an official visit at Washington, where took part at an Atlantic Council event, and also met among others the United States assistant secretary of state, Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.[186][187] While holding no official post in government,[188] according to a Democratic Party press release Plahotniuc went in that visit as "Executive Coordinator of the Government Coalition Counscil”, but local medias was unaware of existence of such a function, and also some MPs from the government coalition didn't knew about it.[189] Asked by some media institution, the U.S. Ambassador in Moldova James Pettit confirmed that Plahotniuc formally was part of delegation, but no more details knows about the Plahotniuc's exact role.[190]

Plahotniuc has been named as central figure in the theft of over one billion dollars from Moldova's Central Bank. This accusation was repeated by the former Deputy Director of the anti-money laundering agency in Moldova, Mihail Gofman .[191] The main mastermind, according to the Kroll report, is a man named Ilan Shor, an Israeli-Moldovan citizen who ran a complex scheme to defraud three banks under his control – Unibank, Sociala and the largest of them all, Banca de Economii.[192] However, a near-miracle has occurred since 2014, when the EU and others cut off financial aid, thought to be vital to the poorest nation in Europe. A new government was sworn in and under severe pressure, managed to pull Moldova out of the depths in a very quick period of time. Investigations had been launched, arrested the perpetrators of the massive fraud, including the former prime minister, and secured some important convictions.[193]

In the context of 2015–16 protests in Moldova, Global Business Center, seat of Plahotniuc's firms, was picketed by public street protesters.[194][195][196][197][198] In January 2016, after Plahotniuc was nominated by parliamentary majority for the position of prime minister, the proposal was immediately rejected by President Nicolae Timofti, invoking integrity reasons.[199] Two rallies took place in Chișinău, one that supports Vlad Plahotniuc for the position of prime minister and another that opposes the nomination. Next day, protests continued, with tens of thousands of people demonstrating in central Chișinău against Plahotniuc.[200][201][202]

On 7 April 2017, the head of the Ukrainian Police, Serhiy Knyazev, together with the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, announced about the attempted murder of the politician Vlad Plahotniuc.[203] Authorities detained eight people in Moldova and nine in Ukraine.[204][205] The Ukrainians also found links between the assassins from Ukraine with the special forces of the Russian Federation.[5][206] On 8 April, according to a press release of State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the attempted murder was coordinated by people from the Russian intelligence services.[207] The same day, in a common press statement of Moldovan police and prosecutors, it was stated that the crime was commanded by two citizens of Moldova, one of them being a head of a criminal group, based in Russia.[208] However, some political analysts stated at an opposition channel Jurnal TV, that these events are part of a hybrid war.[209] Major political opponents of Plahotniuc, including Maia Sandu, Andrei Năstase and Renato Usatîi, received skeptically the news about the attempted murder of Plahotniuc.[210][211] Usatîi,[212] and also, Bogdan Țîrdea, a Moldovan socialist MP, considered too big the number of 17 men who allegedly planned the assassination.[211] On 27 April 2017, Moldovan prosecutors stated in a press conference, that the interlope Grigore Caramalac (also spelled Karamalak; alias "Bulgaru") is one of the persons who ordered the murder of Plahotniuc. The second individual would be a detainee in a Moldovan prison.[213][214][5]

As of 2017, Plahotniuc is known for his control over the Government, judiciary branch, prosecution system and the anti-corruption bodies through the Democratic Party, "vassal-parties" and particular persons in the top of management of Moldovan institutions, despite the fact he personally holds no governmental position.[5]

On 21 September 2017, Maia Sandu, the chairperson of the Party of Action and Solidarity, submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova a criminal denunciation on Vladimir Plahotniuc, accusing him in usurpation of state power through the seizure of all state government powers through blackmail and corruption.[215] On 11 October 2017, Mihai Ghimpu, the chairperson of the Liberal Party, has reassumed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe some of these accusations and has complained on the fact that Plahotniuc controls the justice in Moldova and abusing this is intimidating political opponents.[216]

On 30 November 2017 a Moscow court has issued an arrest warrant for Plahotniuc, charged with attempted murder[217][218][219]. Also, Plahotniuc was placed on the Russia's international wanted list of criminals.

Personal life

Vlad Plahotniuc is married to Oxana (née Childescu) with whom he has two sons, Timofei and Inochentie.[220] His wife, Oxana, is the daughter of the Moldovan painter and sculptor Emil Childescu.[221]

Honours

On July 24, Vlad Plahotniuc was awarded by the President of the Republic of Moldova, Nicolae Timofti with the highest distinction in Moldova Order of the Republic "for major contributions to attaining foreign policy goals set by the Moldovan government – political association and economic integration with European Union".[222][223]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e EXCLUSIV: Vladimir Plahotniuc este „fantoma“ cu dublă identitate din Republica Moldova. Demnitarul apare în documentele oficiale ale României cu o altă identitate, Vlad Ulinici, 27 ianuarie 2011, adevarul.ro. Accessed on 6 May 2011
  2. ^ "Powerful tycoon sees Moldova sticking to EU path regardless of election outcome". 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2017-08-21. 
  3. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "Moldova secessionists increasing just as in Crimea". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  4. ^ Vladimir Socor (2017-01-26). "Moldova's President in the Kremlin: A Snapshot of Moldova-Russia Relations". Retrieved 2017-08-21. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Ukraine and Moldova police prevented assassination of Democrat oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc". 
  6. ^ Cei mai bogați oameni din Republica Moldova
  7. ^ Cum a devenit Vladimir Plahotniuc milionar în euro
  8. ^ Moldova crisis: An elite power grab?. David Stern, BBC News, 27 January 2016
  9. ^ Financial Times, about the oligarchs from Eastern Europe: Plahotniuc, the richest man from Moldova, captured long time ago the power
  10. ^ Ce avere are Vlad Plahotniuc? Între 2 și 2,5 miliarde de dolari. mold-street.com, 28 Oct. 2016
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  47. ^ Moldova Democrats propose to reduce number of Ministries from 16 to 9, insist on uninominal system after 2022
  48. ^ DPM announces reduction of ministries in the Government
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  140. ^ Noi dezvăluiri despre Mafia din RM
  141. ^ Viorel și Victor Țopa sunt niște bandiți, care acum 4 ani, prin escrocherie ș-au însușit 14% din acțiunile VictoriaBank
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  154. ^ Noul sediu central MAIB va fi amplasat pe locul complexului hotelier Codru, care urmează a fi reconstruit conform cerințelor băncii
  155. ^ Moldova Agroindbank îşi consolidează infrastructura pentru a-şi valorifica pe deplin potenţialul de dezvoltare
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  175. ^ Maia Sandu îl acuză pe Plahotniuc că i-a fost frică să vină la dezbateri. Replica lui Candu (in Romanian)
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  178. ^ a b Vlad Plahotniuc, oficial, proprietar a patru televiziuni si trei posturi de radio din Republica Moldova
  179. ^ Moldtelecom a rearanjat canalele în grila TV: Pe primele 4 poziții sunt cele ale lui Plahotniuc
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  181. ^ Canalele lui Plahotniuc, favorizate
  182. ^ CCA amendează televiziunile lui Plahotniuc cu 1800 de lei
  183. ^ CINE SUNT PROPRIETARII principalelor grupuri media din Moldova
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  204. ^ "Moldova: 17 detained in alleged plot to kill politician". 
  205. ^ "IGP confirmă că ținta tentativei de omor era Vlad Plahotniuc. Sunt implicați și doi moldoveni". 
  206. ^ "Plahotniuc a fost ținta unui omor la comandă: Reacția IGP". 
  207. ^ Scenariu „de nisip” în tentativa de asasinare a lui Plahotniuc. Ziarul de Gardă, 13 April 2017 (in Romanian)
  208. ^ Detalii despre tentativa eșuată de asasinare a lui Vlad Plahotniuc. Comanditarul ar fi liderul unei grupări criminale, stabilit la Moscova. anticoruptie.md, 8 April 2017 (in Romanian)
  209. ^ Aşa-zisa tentativă de omor asupra lui Plahotniuc - parte din războiul hibrid care ni se prezintă la TV; Cum oligarhul s-a văzut nevoit să joace o singură carte şi să devină „editorialist” // EXPERŢI
  210. ^ Cei 8 barbati suspectati ca ar fi incercat sa-l asasineze pe Plahotniuc au fost arestati pentru 30 de zile
  211. ^ a b Opozitia pune la indoiala veridicitatea presupusei tentative de omor asupra lui Plahotniuc: "Se iau 2 killeri, unul omoara persoana data si al doilea omoara killerul" "Unul de 70 de ani, bolnav de diabet zaharat, altul nici majoratul nu are"
  212. ^ Atenționarea lui Usatîi pentru Plahotniuc: „Voi veni eu și vom începe jocul pe care ți l-am promis”
  213. ^ Prosecutors confirm that Grigore Caramalac ordered Plahotniuc's assassination. crimemoldova.com, 27 April 2017
  214. ^ VIDEO from probe. KILLERS TELL SCENARIO of assassinating Vlad Plahotniuc. publika.md, 27 April 2017
  215. ^ /VIDEO/ Denunț penal la Procuratură. PAS îl acuză pe Plahotniuc de uzurparea puterii în stat. tv8.md. 21 September 2017 (in Romanian)
  216. ^ (VIDEO) Ghimpu îl denunță pe Plahotniuc, la Consiliul Europei: „Foloseşte Procuratura pentru a intimida oponenţii politici”. independent.md. 12 October 2017. (in Romanian)
  217. ^ Moscow court reportedly issues arrest warrant for Moldovan oligarch and political heavyweight Plahotniuc
  218. ^ "Главу Демпартии Молдавии заочно арестовали в Москве по делу о покушении на убийство". ТАСС. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  219. ^ "Председателя Демпартии Молдавии заочно арестовали в РФ". Интерфакс. 6 December 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  220. ^ Vezi cum arată familia lui Vlad Plahotniuc. Cine e femeia din spatele omului de afaceri. (in Romanian)
  221. ^ (FOTO EXCLUSIV) Prima apariție în public a familiei Plahotniuc (in Romanian)
  222. ^ Timofti împarte distincții de stat pentru lideri de partid, deputați și miniștri
  223. ^ Timofti a ÎMPĂRȚIT distincții IMPORTANTE pentru deputați, miniștri și funcționari publici. Plahotniuc e printre ei

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