Leonid Volneanschi, former owner of ELAT holding company, recently sentenced to 9 years of imprisonment for an alleged embezzlement, pleads not guilty and will appeal the sentence to a higher court. 

Asked by CrimeMoldova, Leonid Volneanschi has said that he is undergoing a treatment in Israel, but he hired a team of lawyers, who are already working on the appeal. 

"I didn’t take any money from this loan. Otherwise, how could they issue the credit, if the contract stipulates that I first must pledge some assets, which didn’t happen? It was like this: I applied for a loan to Universalbank, when Gherman Gorbuntov was its owner and president. Meanwhile, following the assassination attempt, Gorbuntov was forced to leave Moldova and after the raider attack in August 2011, Renato Usatii became the bank owner. Later, I went to the bank and offered various assets as collateral, but they were not accepted. So, I didn’t take the credit," Volneanschi said. 

The former owner of ELAT holding does not rule out that the case had been made to Renato Usatii’s order. 

"As far as I understand, someone took this loan, based on the request that I made. This loan was issued when Renato Usatii managed the bank. I think it was a trap, set up by Usatii to take over the ELAT. The first attempt to take over the holding was undertaken in January 2012. That was the time when the case appeared. I was on good terms with Gorbuntov. Interestingly, the same executor, Gheorghe Botan, appears both in the case of Universalbank and in that of ELAT. The latter, in violation of the law, without holding an auction, sold my auctions dirt-cheap to Mihail Aizin. Botan impounded my car for debts without executing the necessary documents. Then, he was seen driving that car in Chisinau. Renato Usatii was involved in it, as well as in the raider attack on Universalbank. I was in Israel when I found out I had been stripped of my property. The scheme also involved Mihail Aizin, who manages from the backstage some of his actions in ELAT. Or, let’s take Andrei Gargalic, whom I sold some land behind ELAT, and who didn’t pay me any money until the present day. It is no secret that Gargalic is representing Grigore Caramalac’s interests in several businesses in Moldova. They have been very good friends for many years. Or see how they treated Roman Gudcov, who was stripped of 49% of shares by Ion Vanaga. In fact, those were my shares, as I pledged them because I had taken a loan for business development from him. Under the contract, Gudcov received dividends for the stake because I was using his money. Unfortunately, I was the one who introduced Gudcov to Vanaga. The latter had his headquarters on the premises of the Moldovan Metropolis. Roman is a man of deep faith, he sponsored the construction of several churches in Russia. Thus, he easily fell into Vanaga’s trap, made with the help of Metropolitan Vladimir, and signed a general proxy into the name of Ion Vanaga. In less than a month, Vanaga transferred the shares into the name of his driver. For 5000 lei, he bought the shares that cost 50 million euros. They did that to me because they thought I was going to die. But I foiled their plans," Volneanschi told us.

Asked by CrimeMoldova whether he recognizes the debts some individuals claim, Volneanschi said that in fact, they are his friends and he is sorry that so far, they haven’t been returned the money, "I didn’t mean to cheat on them. I repeatedly asked those who stole my shares to display at least some common sense and pay the debts, because the money was invested in ELAT. For instance, in the case of Larisa Nefiodkina, we went together to Gargalic and I asked him to return her the money from the purchase of land. He promised to do so, but he didn’t keep his word. I executed a power of attorney into the name of Larisa, entrusting her the management of the 13% stake that I officially hold in ELAT. But they didn’t want to hear that.  I didn’t expect they would do that to Larisa. We know that her husband was the late Valeri Rotari, who was on very good terms with Aizin. Other people from ELAT had a great esteem for Rotari. I hope law enforcers will throw light on this large-scale theft and things will return to normal and I'll be able to return people's money."

Leonid Volneanschi promised to provide in the near future an exclusive interview to CrimeMoldova, revealing details on the raider attack on ELAT and about those, who run the company from the backstage.

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