Response to Corruption and Election Interference in Moldova

OCTOBER 26, 2022

The United States is committed to supporting Moldova’s efforts to counter corruption, reform the justice sector, strengthen the independence and transparency of its democratic institutions, and promote accountability for those seeking to undermine its democracy.  Today, we are designating two fugitive oligarchs along with a larger group of individuals and entities for their involvement in corruption and Kremlin-linked efforts to interfere in Moldova’s democratic elections.

Pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Act, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is designating Vladimir Plahotniuc for being a former government official responsible for or complicit in, or who has directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption. Plahotniuc’s bribery of law enforcement officials reflects his longstanding efforts to capture and corrupt Moldova’s judicial and law enforcement institutions, while using his wealth and political influence to undermine political rivals and rule of law in the country.  The State Department imposed visa restrictions on Plahotniuc in January 2020 for his involvement in significant corruption.  Plahotniuc and his immediate family members are ineligible for visas to the United States.

OFAC is also designating Ilan Shor, leader of the Shor Party, pursuant to the primary U.S. Russia sanctions authority (E.O. 14024), for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in interference in a foreign government election, for or on behalf of, or for the direct or indirect benefit of the Government of the Russian Federation. A beneficiary of a large-scale 2014 money laundering scheme related to the theft of $1 billion from Moldovan banks, Shor has worked with other corrupt oligarchs and Moscow-based entities to create political unrest in Moldova and sought to undermine Moldova’s bid for EU candidate status.

Pursuant to E.O. 14024, OFAC is designating 7 additional individuals and 12 entities that have been involved in the Kremlin’s attempts to interfere in Moldova’s elections.  Russia has sought to advance its own interests by providing illicit financing – including funds earmarked for bribes and electoral fraud – to support pro-Kremlin political activity in Moldova.

Today’s designations reaffirm the U.S. commitment to tackling corruption as a first order national security threat and to promoting accountability for systemic efforts to undermine Moldova’s democratic institutions and elections.  The United States will continue to hold accountable those threatening democracy abroad.

For more information on today’s action, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.