Dragalin: Moldovan Officials Obstructed Interpol Search for Criminals

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Moldovan officials took bribes to provide criminals with information on the status of Interpol “red notices” for wanted persons. The amount of these bribes exceeds several million dollars. The head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Veronica Dragalin, said this at a briefing today. Prosecutors together with their French counterparts, with the assistance of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), conducted 33 searches of 12 people suspected of implementing a corruption scheme. Four people were detained and placed under provisional arrest for 72 hours. The scheme involved an international criminal group linked to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other countries that paid bribes to obtain information on the status of “red notices”. Wanted criminals may have been granted asylum or refugee status in Moldova or other countries to block Interpol’s wanted notices. The scheme involves not only officials from Moldova, but also from other countries. “There is a reasoned suspicion that a group of individuals of different nationalities have implemented an alleged corruption scheme to allow persons subject to Interpol red notices to obtain asylum or refugee status in the Republic of Moldova and other countries in order to block and cancel their red notices by paying bribes to public officials, including in the Republic of Moldova. The alleged sums paid by the beneficiaries of these schemes amount to several million dollars,” said the head of the specialized Prosecutor’s Office. Dragalin said that the monitoring systems had detected suspicious activity regarding “red notice” requests by international police, and that information from colleagues in France had also helped. She added that this joint investigation is proof that international cooperation between law enforcement agencies is of great importance to identify and stop the activities of corrupt criminals who are not confined to the countries’ borders. The International Criminal Police Organization comprises 196 countries. More than 70,000 people from all over the world are currently wanted by Interpol. An Interpol Red Notice or Interpol Red Card is a request to law enforcement agencies of all countries around the world cooperating with international police to search for a suspected offender. The main criteria for issuing a red card are the accusation of a serious criminal offence, a criminal wanted notice and a request.