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Moldova is seeking extradition from Russia

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Moldova is seeking extradition from Russia

Moldova is seeking extradition from Russia

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  • Moldova seeks extradition of Ilan Shor, a pro-Russian politician convicted of mass fraud after moving to Russia.
  • Shor, a pro-Russian business magnate, was sentenced to 15 years in absentia.
  • Shor is the driving force behind the “Victory” electoral bloc, which opposes the EU referendum and Sandu’s re-election bid.
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The justice minister of Moldova announced on Saturday that the country is now seeking extradition from Russia of an opposition politician convicted of mass fraud after he moved there from exile in Israel. Ilan Shor, a pro-Russian business magnate, received a 15-year prison sentence last year in absentia in connection with the disappearance of $1 billion from the banking system in 2014, which was dubbed Moldova’s “theft of the century.”

Shor has organized noisy street demonstrations against pro-European President Maia Sandu and has urged Moldovans to vote “no” in a referendum authority have called for October on joining the European Union by 2030.

Justice Minister Veronica-Mihailov Moraru announced that Moldova would redirect its extradition appeals to Moscow after Shor stated he had moved to Russia and declared he had been granted Russian citizenship.

“The justice ministry has not been informed of this by the Russian authorities,” she told TVR Moldova television.

“If we are advised officially that he holds Russian citizenship, we will analyze the circumstances and consider how to act in procedural terms.”

Moldova, an ex-Soviet state situated between Ukraine and Romania, had repeatedly sought Shor’s extradition from Israel. Following his conviction, the Constitutional Court banned a party bearing Shor’s name and formed a new party called “Chance” in its place.

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Shor is the driving force behind the “Victory” electoral bloc, launched last month in Moscow, aimed at opposing the EU referendum and Sandu’s bid for re-election in a poll to be held on the same date. He announced last week that he wanted to become prime minister if a president favorable to his views would nominate him.

Sandu denounces Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and describes Russia and corruption as the biggest threats to her country. The Victory bloc, comprising four parties, campaigns with the slogan “No to the EU” and advocates for Moldova to join the Eurasian Economic Union — a Russian-led regional grouping. It has not yet decided on a candidate to run against Sandu. The opposition Socialists and Communists, also friendly to Moscow, oppose the pro-EU referendum but have shown little inclination to cooperate with Shor and the Victory bloc.

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