15:58 20.04.2017

Moldovan businessman Platon sentenced to 18 years in jail for laundering over $20 bln from Russia

Moldovan businessman Platon sentenced to 18 years in jail for laundering over $20 bln from Russia

A Chisinau court sentenced Moldovan businessman Veaceslav Platon to 18 years in jail on Thursday on the counts of laundering over $20 billion of funds from Russia in Moldovan banks.

The prosecution service demanded a 23-year sentence for the defendant, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom. Neither prosecutors nor lawyers have commented on the judgment.

Platon was barred from his own trial because of 'bad behavior' and contempt of court, but he was brought to the courtroom on Thursday to hear the sentence.

He was denied an opportunity to make the last plea yet he shouted a few words right after the court handed down the sentence.

The proceedings had been held in camera, but the public and the press were allowed into the courtroom for hearing the sentence.

"Judges, look into my eye! Aren't you ashamed? This is not a sentence, this is a politically rigged inquisition orchestrated by your master, Vlad Plahotniuc [Moldovan tycoon and Democratic Party leader], who should be put in prison himself! This is not a trial, this is Plahotniuc's menagerie," Platon shouted to the judges.

It had been reported earlier that Platon had been detained in Kyiv on July 25, 2015, at the request of Interpol. He was taken to Chisinau aboard a private jet, which, according to his lawyers, was chartered by Platon's former business partner Vlad Plahotniuc. Platon was charged with stealing about 1 billion lei (over $20 million) from Banca de Economii, which went bankrupt in October 2015. He has also been implicated in the so-called Laundromat case of $20 billion in funds from Russia supposedly laundered through Moldovan banks and transferred to offshore accounts.

Former employee of Moldova's National Anticorruption Center Mikhail Gofman alleged that more than $23 billion in funds from Russia had been laundered via Moldovan banks. The Russian Interior Ministry said, in turn, that $10.9 billion were siphoned out of Russia via the Moldovan scheme in 2015 alone.

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