Topaz Chisinau Plant Covertly Sold

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The beneficiary of the Chisinau-based company became a Russian company controlled by Arcady Topalo, who has been the subject of several media investigations. Recently, Topalo’s company, which holds a monopoly on the Moldovan electronic products market, starred in a scandal involving a raid on a chain of private clinics. Topalo has not yet commented on the accusations, JurnalTV reports. The Topaz plant was sold on Monday, 9 October. According to Jurnal TV confidential sources, 16 million euros were paid for the enterprise, although its real value is said to exceed 40 million euros. The Moldovan government representatives were not involved in the transaction. The Topaz plant is a part of the Russian state corporation Rostec. As soon as the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, Rostec representatives in Chisinau and Moscow covertly started negotiations on the sale. Jurnal TV asked for the government’s reaction, but for now, there is no response. The deal came under the scrutiny of the National Financial Market Commission, which ordered to block the registration through changing the owner without the directors board approval. The first auction for the Topaz took place in May this year. The starting price of the asset was more than one billion Russian rubles. Two companies took part in the auction. On 9 October, the Topaz plant was sold for almost 16 million euros to the company Business Broker Finance, which is managed by the Russian Denis Ipolitov, who is backed by businessman Arcady Topalo, sentenced by the court of first instance to five years’ suspended imprisonment for money laundering. Topalo is currently a monopolist on the Moldovan electronic goods market and controls the three largest online shops selling household appliances. The declared profits from these companies are small, less than one million euros. Journalists claim that there is a crime scheme in this case. In particular, they use intermediary companies, from which products are purchased and where the bulk of the profit remains. We are talking about tens of millions of euros annually. According to Jurnal TV sources, Arcady Topalo is one of the main channels through which the Russian Federation finances its people in Chisinau. Since 2021, Topalo has owned the company Handling, which he acquired from Ilan Șor. Jurnal TV says, Topalo managed, thanks to controls at the Chisinau airport, the Border Police and Customs Service, to bring about ten thousand high-performance laptops to Russia in the first half of the year, despite Western sanctions. The amount of money Topalo received for these laptops is 16 million euros. This is the amount paid for the Topaz plant. Arcady Topalo comes from the entourage of Serghei Yaralov, a confidant of former PDM head Vladimir Plahotniuc. The general director of the Topaz company is Inna Linich, a Russian citizen. Linich also appears in the lists of secret Russian agents in Moldova. The Topaz plant is under the direct control of Russian citizen Vladislav Darvai, who has been Russia’s commercial representative in Chisinau since 2019. JurnalTV says that Darvai promotes the interests of the Russian embassy in Chisinau through the current employees of the Moldovan Information and Security Service. Topalo’s name appeared in several media investigations. In 2017, Topalo was accused of creating, through intermediaries, several companies that caused damage to the state worth 37 million lei. He pleaded guilty and reimbursed the damage to the state. He was sentenced to five years’ suspended imprisonment for money laundering with a one-year probation period. Recently Arcady Topalo has starred in a scandal with accusations of attacking a network of private clinics in Moldova. No Topalo’s comments on the plant acquisition followed.