Article by Joseph Cartwright, photo by Churban
Shor was convicted in 2017 for his role in the Laundromat scandal, which saw $1 billion stolen from three Moldovan banks between 2012 and 2014. He remains free on bail while he appeals his conviction.
Despite his role in the “theft of the century”, which cost Moldova the equivalent of an eighth of its GDP, Shore shamelessly told locals that “Corruption is Moldova’s biggest issue.”
Shore claimed that corruption had led to the country’s judges becoming tainted and that he would rather be tried be a “people’s tribunal”.
He also vowed that he would seek to move Moldova away from the European Union and back towards Russia. He told his supporters that he would “rebuild all of the country’s infrastructure, the way it was in Soviet times!” and revive “Moldova as a flourishing state in union with Russia.”
The fact Shor was even allowed to stand angered many Moldovans, with some claiming it is no coincidence that pro-Kremlin candidates benefited from the fraud.
Mihail Gofman, the former deputy head of Moldova’s anti-corruption centre, said that Veaceslav Platon, the architect of the fraud, wanted “to kill Moldova’s economy and to offer the country on a tray to the Russians.”
The controversial Open Dialogue Foundation lobbied for Platon following his arrest in Ukraine and pushed for the EU to initiate sanctions against the country over the issue. In response, the Moldovan government initiated a Parliamentary Investigation into the ODF after allegations were made that they had received money stolen during the Laundromat scandal.
Moldovan MP Maia Sandu claimed that the elections were “the most undemocratic in the history of Moldova.”
“A gang of thieves … has captured the state institutions” and are “scaring … threatening and impoverishing us,” she added.
In the election, the pro-Russian opposition socialists won 31.5% of the vote, while the pro-European ACUM group won 25.9%. The incumbent Democratic Party placed third with 24.1% of the vote.