Moldovan plans to charge bankers over £20bn illicit cash scheme

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Moldova plans to charge four or five bankers with money laundering, saying they helped shift as much as $20 billion in illicit cash from Russia to Latvia.

'The investigation is close to being finalized,' Vasile Sarco, head of the country’s money-laundering prevention unit, said by phone. Moldova’s central bank has fined a local lender and its management after a probe into $18 billion to $20 billion of suspicious transactions between 2010 and 2014, Governor Dorin Dragutanu said.

Bloomberg News reports the scheme was first reported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a non-profit investigative journalism center, which said it’s the largest it’s encountered in the former Soviet Union.

The figure is more than double the size of Moldova’s $8 billion economy. Latvia, which became the euro area’s 18th member in January, has grown into a hub for ex-Soviet cash, drawing comparisons with Cyprus.

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