Former Acting Head of Banca de Economii Sentenced to 10 Years in Billion Theft Case

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The court passed a sentence in the criminal case of the former interim chairman of Banca de Economii SA Viorel Birca, who is accused of embezzling other people’s property on a particularly large scale and in the interests of an organized criminal group. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. He will serve the sentence in a closed correctional facility, with deprivation of the right to hold positions in the financial and banking sector for 5 years. At the same time, it was ordered to recover from the convict’s account in favor of Banca de Economii SA, which is in the process of liquidation, a material loss of 100 million dollars, converted in the national currency by applying the official exchange rate of the current Moldovan lei on the day of the sentence’s execution. The court upheld the seizure of half of the property belonging to the convict, worth about 4 million lei, in order to guarantee the reparation of damages. Moreover, court expenses worth 32,550 lei were collected from the convict’s account in favor of the state. The criminal case is separated from the criminal proceedings, the object of investigation of which is the embezzlement of assets worth 100 million dollars belonging to Banca de Economii SA in the period of 2013-2014 by a criminal group comprising public figures, persons holding state positions, individuals and legal entities. According to the materials, the convict in the period from July 2013 to September 2014, holding the position of acting chairman of Banca de Economii SA, being a member of the criminal group and acting in the interests of this group, having responsibilities for the organization of the bank’s activities and ensuring the rational use of financial resources of Bаncа de Economii SA, forged 7 SWIFT orders - (payment order implemented through the international payment system) and, being a co-author, stole from the financial institution funds in the amount of 100 million dollars. The trial on the case lasted 3 years, the defendant denied his guilt in committing the incriminated act. The verdict can be appealed to the Chisinau Court of Appeal within 15 days.