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Billions evaporated in Ukraine and Moldova. Is it up to the Europeans to finance?

(B2) European diplomats sometimes have their tongues in their pockets. This is the case of Luc Devigne who recently spoke at a conference in kyiv on November 14. “ There is unity in the European Union to continue to support the Eastern Partnership policy. But if major scandals occur, this unity could break. " Billions stolen from Ukraine and Moldova are eroding citizens' trust » alerts the director of the 'Russia – Eastern Partnership' department at the European Diplomatic Service (EEAS), as detailed in the European media Euractiv.

Billions

Two recent scandals in these neighboring countries of the European Union, which receive significant aid from the latter under the Eastern Partnership, are particularly worrying. In Ukraine, $5,6 billion evaporated from Privat Bank, a bank owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky (close to current president Zelensky) and Gennadiy Bogolyubov. A loss which is the result « large-scale and coordinated fraud over a period of at least ten years to use the terms of the official release of the National Bank of Ukraine, after an independent audit carried out by the Kroll firm (1). In Moldova, a billion dollars was stolen from three banks by Illan Shor, a Moldovan businessman. The banks failed in 2014 and the Moldovan state called in to the rescue. A case described as the 'fraud of the century' because it is equivalent for this country, one of the poorest in Europe, to an eighth of the country's gross domestic product. Although sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison in 2017, for money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, the “crook” (2) Illan Shor was elected to the Moldovan parliament in early 2019 and has been mayor of Orhei since 2015 .

A fundamental question for credibility

« More and more, politicians or citizens will say: why should I pay, why should I support Ukraine or other countries if they themselves do not sue when money is stolen from them, their own state? Why should I compensate? It's a good question », asks Luc Devigne, who calls on national authorities to take the fight against corruption and respect for the rule of law seriously. “ At the end of the day, we don't vote, we don't appoint officials, we don't appoint judges. »It’s up to the authorities to do it…

(NGV)

  1. The bank was nationalized in 2016, but its former owners are still contesting this measure and especially the freezing of assets affecting them before the British courts. see Reuters dispatch October 2019
  2. See Times of Israel.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).