Sergiu Sagaidac, former Head of Department for Fight against Money Laundering of Social Bank spoke in an interview with crimemoldova about his opinion with regard to Platon’s and Shor’s arrest, as well as about the fact that he is overseen by strangers. In case he has suspicions that they might present danger to his life, he will implement a plan, suggested by US representatives.
- Why did you come with loud statements only after Gofman’s statements?
I’ve always wanted to reveal the truth. I decided to make this statement when I saw that Mr. Gofman participated in the Interpol TV program and made those disclosures. I was glad to find a man who told the truth. This helped me come out and make certain statements. My motivation and reasoning was that I wanted people to know the truth, simply because many people, including me, had to suffer. I was looking forward to that day when people would know the truth.
But I have to tell you that even being in the country, I took a stand and, and in my position of Chief of the department to fight against money laundering within the Social Bank, I submitted several requests to state institutions, diplomatic missions, international organizations and urged to strengthen the control within the commercial bank to reduce the risk of bank frauds. However, I did it delicately, considering I was in Moldova.
- Were you afraid?
Of course, I was scared, that’s why I did it delicately. Now, when Mr. Gofman broke the ice with his statements, the circumstances have changed and I started making some revelations, too. Besides, Mr. Gofman, Mr. Veacheslav Negruta also revealed numerous details of the bank fraud, but unfortunately, he was not heard.
- Do you feel safe in London?
I feel quite safe in London. But, I have to say that I noticed recently some cars following me. My location had been identified and I noticed some suspicious cars. English people wouldn’t gaze intently at another person. When I get out of the house I see some people in cars, they look at me for some time and then start talking on the phone. This has started recently. I suppose that they are monitoring me here. In case, there is a slightest suspicion that my health is in danger, I have a scenario how to proceed. This scenario was suggested to me by the US, including by addressing certain government structures in Britain. I just noticed some suspicious cars and drivers, watching me suspiciously.
- What institutions did you address and what was their response?
First, it comes to the National Bank, the US Embassy and International Monetary Fund representation in Chisinau.
- How do you see Veaceslav Platon’s fate now?
First, I want to make my position and the position of Mr. Gofman clear. Platon was one of the beneficiaries of the theft from the banking system. He has to be subjected to a fair trial, but not to a directed show, as it was the case with Ilan Shor. Therefore, they asked to postpone Platon’s extradition, until the representatives of the FBI and the US Justice Department examine his statements. Even being a suspect, he has the right to testify. Unfortunately, in Moldova the state institutions are captured and are not institutionally independent. If Platon is extradited before he is heard by the US authorities, there is a risk that he won’t make any statements. He might not be allowed to testify. In Shor's case, his is allowed to give evidence, but only the ones that are allowed.
If his case is examined by the investigative bodies in the US, many details will be revealed, considering that Mr. Platon knows the mechanisms through which this bank fraud was committed and its beneficiaries. Platon was arrested so early to make him keep silent.
- Do you think the FBI will cooperate with the Moldovan investigative bodies?
If I am not mistaken, there was a proposal of the US Embassy to assist in the investigation. Only, I do not know, if Moldovan authorities accepted it.
- Why wouldn’t they accept it?
Now the authorities, the law enforcement institutions of the Republic of Moldova can prove their good faith and initiate an investigation with international assistance, such as EUROPOL, FBI, USA Department of Justice. It is necessary to make an official request from the Prosecutor General's Office requiring this assistance. These foreign experts should provide assistance, but they should also to have the status of foreign observers. If the Prosecutor General’s Office makes this step, it will gain credibility.
- Do you consider that the Prosecutor General’s Office has no sincere intention to investigate this case?
It’s not only me who thinks so, most citizens believe this, because Prosecution General’s Office has no institutional independence and they follow some indications of certain groups, headed by a certain coordinator. I think the circumstances that we’ve been recently observing prove this.
- Do you mean Plahotniuc?
Speaking of the coordinator, I refer to Plahotniuc who controls the law institutions: General Prosecutor's Office, CAN, National Bank and other state institutions. These institutions are captive.
- On what grounds do you say Plahotniuc is one of the bank theft beneficiaries?
I mean he controls the institutions of law and the National Bank. The theft wouldn’t have been possible, if these institutions were independent. It’s enough to remember the circumstances. The National Bank had a number of tools available: starting with the possibility to block the rights of shareholders, acting in concert. Everyone knew that Shor was behind those three banks. They could have withdrawn the approval of a series of administrators for the committed violations. They could have established special surveillance without addressing special administration.
No matter how much Mr. Dragutanu would try to convince us that all measures have been taken, in fact they haven’t. Behind those shareholders that were acting in concert were some companies, where Ilan Shor was the final beneficiary. On the other hand, let’s take a look at who was acting within the National Bank, I’ll give you a simple example. When I served in Victoriabank as head of department for fight against money laundering, Vladimir Turcan was director of crediting department. This person held the position of director of the Department of Supervision and Regulation in the National Bank, namely when the fraud took place. He is the person from a bank that is controlled by Plahotniuc. Vladimir Turcan was to control the banking sector, the yearly process, it had to be a thematic control. All the reports reached him and together with the vice-governor, he sent them to the NBM Management Board with proposals for remedies and sanctions, such as financial penalties to administrators. Those reports were developed based on the findings of ordinary employees participating in the control missions. Those reports described the situation in the three banks: BEM, Unibank and Social Bank. Vladimir Turcan was to propose sanctions and remedies, pursuant to article 38 of the law of financial institutions.
A number of directors of those three banks had to be withdrawn from offices for repeated infringements. For other managers, such as Mrs. Rahuba, who was proposed for the position of acting executive of the Social Bank, her candidacy shouldn’t have been approved on the grounds that she was a member of the Management Board of the Social Bank and she had already caused damages. So she shouldn’t have been approved.
Vladimir Turcan came to the NBM when Plahotniuc was chairperson of the board. These people must be heard to answer a number of questions. Who gave them instructions?
Hence, we see that actions were not independent, because we have the control mission reports to be analyzed.
Evidently, these frauds wouldn’t have been possible without the involvement of Mr. Plahontiuc.
Even in Ilan Shor’s denunciation of September 2014, he writes that he and Vlad Filat were summoned to the meeting at the Hotel Codru. What was the official position of Plahontiuc that allowed him to summon to a meeting Ilan Shor and Vlad Filat? Plahontiuc cautioned them against the disappearance of money. We can deduce that Plahotniuc was informed about what was happening to those three banks. Secondly, what was his interest in cautioning them against the disappearing of money?
- When you’re speaking of Plahontiuc’s benefits, what do you mean? Do you mean the pecuniary benefits, or the opportunity to send to prison his competitors?
First of all, I mean pecuniary benefits. There is a collusion between different institutions, from the NBM to the ISS. Everyone knew what was happening. It was a pecuniary benefit. But in addition, Plahotniuc aimed at liquidating his competitors.
- What was the response to the submitted applications?
Of all the submitted applications, I received an answer from the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office. I asked about the status of the persons that were invited to a hearing. The answer was vague; they told us that to avoid damaging the investigation, disclosure was not possible. I don’t understand how the investigation can be prejudiced by confirming the procedural status of a witness, a suspect, or an accused. We know about several people, like Rahuba, Barca, including from press release of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, what is the the status of these two people, Barca is accused and Rahuba is suspect.
The investigation is prejudiced by the fact that certain persons are still free. These people can influence witnesses. Shor’s freedom damaged the investigation by influencing witnesses and destruction of certain evidence.
Another application was filed to the NBM with regard to the development of mechanisms to transfer deposits of the depositors of the three banks to other commercial banks. Those three banks were already undercapitalized; they were left without capital and were supplied with capital from capital reserves of the NBM. The deposits were no longer the money of depositors, but the reserves of the NBM. It is of public interest how the money came to cover the deposits and which banks received the money.
We are still waiting for answers to those applications.
- Are you coordinating these actions with Mihail Gofman?
When he made that disclosure, I was happy that there was a man to tell the truth. After that, I made my own revelations. After a certain period, Mr. Gofman contacted me. We exchanged views and decided to strengthen our efforts in the fight to elucidate all the circumstances, regarding the theft of the century. Mr. Gofman told me that some people in the US want to hear me. I present interest for them. Moreover, I received a call from US and when I checked that number, there was the answering machine of US governmental structures.
We coordinate some actions, because we consolidate our efforts and we call on civil society. If there are witnesses to the theft, they have to contact us and the investigators from the US would hear them. It is sufficient just to accept, we will maintain anonymity.