October 27, 2022

OFAC designates individuals and entities for facilitating Russian efforts to influence Moldovan politics

On October 26, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated 9 individuals and 12 entities involved in Russia’s global influence and destabilization campaign in Moldova, and the systemic corruption of Moldova’s political and economic institutions.  Among the designees is former Moldovan Member of Parliament Vladimir Plahotniuc, who is accused of bribing law enforcement officials and passing legislation in order to obtain their loyalty and maintain his control over Moldova. Plahotniuc is also accused of using his control over Moldova’s judicial system to invalidate a 2018 mayoral election and, on a separate occasion, closing voting stations in locations where his political party was expected to lose. OFAC designated Plahotniuc pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets persons involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption.  In 2020, in response to Plahotniuc’s involvement in significant corruption, the US State Department imposed visa restrictions upon Plahotniuc and his immediate family pursuant to Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act. 

OFAC also reports that, before the 2021 Moldovan elections, Russia attempted to undermine Moldovan president Maia Sandu by using Moldovan politician and Shor Party chairman, Ilan Mironovic Shor, to work with Russian individuals in an effort to gain control of Moldova’s parliament and pass legislation to support Russian interests. Shor’s wife, a Russian pop singer, also allegedly played a role in the scheme.  Another designee, Igor Yuryevich Chayka, who is the son of a Russian Security Council member, allegedly used his father’s connections and influence to obtain backing for certain Moldovan legislation preferred by the Kremlin, and allegedly used several of his companies to funnel money earmarked for political bribes and electoral fraud in Moldova. OFAC designated Shor, his wife, Chayka and several of their associates pursuant to EO 14024 for engaging in or attempting to engage in interference in a foreign election on behalf of the Government of Russia.  OFAC also designated the Shor Party and several entities in Russia pursuant to EO 14024, for being owned or controlled by Shor, Chayka, or their newly-designated associates.

As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of today’s designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more designated persons are also blocked, unless they are exempt or authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC.

Department of Treasury Press Release