Head of the National Bank Octavian Armasu Dismissed

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Chairman of the National Bank of Moldova Octavian Armasu was dismissed. The relevant decision was adopted at a parliamentary session on 21 December. Eighty-one MPs upheld the resignation of the head of the National Bank. Yesterday, the parliament held session on the progress made in the “bank fraud” case. After almost four hours of debate, the chairman of the National Bank of Moldova, Octavian Armasu, was asked to resign. MPs criticized the head of the National Bank for slow progress in the billion-theft case. “According to the results of today’s hearings in the committee and at the plenary session of the Parliament, we revealed serious problems in the activity of the NBM leadership, sabotage in the recovery of money, employment of people involved in bank fraud and obstruction of the investigation. We ask for your resignation, Mr. Octavian Armasu,” Radu Marian wrote on Facebook. PAS MP Lilian Carp rebuked NBM chairman Octavian Armasu for the fact that the bank is represented by Sor’s lawyer Aureliu Colenco. “The lawyer you are talking about is not the lawyer of the National Bank. He is a lawyer hired by an employee of the National Bank and, according to the law, we reimburse his expenses. We don’t decide who he should hire. I hear the reaction and I understand it, but the law is the law,” Armasu said. Thus, Sor’s lawyer does receive a salary from the National Bank of Moldova. Octavian Armasu was appointed as president of the National Bank on 30 November 2018. Previously, he had held the post of Minister of Finance. Yesterday, the first stage of hearings on the progress of the investigation of the “billion theft” case was held in Parliament. The hearing was attended by officials from the National Anticorruption Centre (NAC), the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS), the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency (CARA), the National Bank of Moldova (NBM) and the Ministry of Finance. Hearings on the “billion theft” case will take place in the legislature from 21 to 28 December 2023. According to the latest reports, most of the stolen billion has not been recovered. Over 8 years, the banks have returned about 2.8 billion lei to the state, and another 11 billion lei should be recovered. *** The “Theft of the Century” took place in Moldova in 2014, when it became known about the withdrawal of a billion US dollars outside the country. Three banks were involved in the fraud: Unibank, Banca sociala and Vapsa de economii, one of the country’s largest banks, where the state owned a third of the shares. Huge sums were withdrawn through knowingly irrecoverable loans, which threatened the bankruptcy of financial-credit organizations. For two years the National Bank had been allocating subsidies to them under state guarantees. The amount of the allocated aid was 15 billion lei, which by 2015 was comparable to 15% of the country’s GDP. The state subsidies were used in money laundering schemes. The banks were disbanded, and the billion dollars withdrawn from Moldova did not return to the country in full.