Moldova’s anti-corruption prosecutors will investigate whether controversial businessman Ilan Shor, already indicted for bank fraud, paid the school fees for the son of Deputy Prime Minister Iurie Leanca at a private college in the UK, the deputy head of the opposition Liberal Party Lilian Carp announced on his blog.
Shor, who is described by financial forensic company Kroll as the visible beneficiary of the $1bn theft from Moldovan banks, reportedly paid $21,000 twice, both times through his company Tomtom Trade Comp to Cambridge Arts and Sciences Limited, the company that operates the college where Liviu Tristan Leanca graduated in 2014, according to the documents that surfaced in the media.
Cambridge Arts and Sciences Limited operates at four locations: Cambridge, Canterbury and London in the UK, and Boston in the US. It says it offers “exceptional modern school campuses with boarding programmes designed to meet the needs of international students.”
Jurnal media group, controlled by the pro-EU opposition party Dignity and Truth (PPDA), revealed documents linking Leanca’s son to Shor. Leanca has denied all the accusations.
Leanca was prime minister from 2013 to 2015, after having served as foreign affairs and European integration minister in 2009-2013. He has also been an influential leader of the pro-EU coalition of parties.
At this moment, Leanca serves as deputy prime minister, after splitting from the other pro-EU parties that refused to back the ruling Democratic Party of Vlad Plahotniuc. Leanca enjoyed robust credibility among country’s development partners (the European Union particularly) at the time he served as prime minister and Plahotniuc visibly hoped to benefit of his credibility when appointing him as a top member of the government.
The issue will be investigated as part of a criminal investigation already started on related topics.
The response of the prosecutors to Carp’s request for an investigation does not clarify whether the reports that surfaced in the media and were raised by Carp were previously known to the prosecutors and whether Leanca has any procedural status in the criminal case.
The prosecutor's office avoided officially commenting (the only spokesperson is on vacation) but it posted a message stating that "Iurie Leanca is not under investigation, and the complaint of MP Carp was attached to the criminal case and will be considered in the manner prescribed by law.”