BREAKING- Vitali Fishman ‘Person of Interest’ in Moldova $ 1 Billion Bank Scam Investigation


May 31, 2019
A senior Official in the Romanian Intelligence Service confirmed today that Vitali Fishman, the international Arms Dealer under investigation in several countries for illegal weapon sales, bribing government officials and money

laundering, was being investigated as a “Person of Interest” in the case of Vladimir Plahotniuc, the powerful Oligarch and former Member of Parliament of Moldova. The senior Official, who spoke off the record due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation, stated that Plahotniuc, who fled from Moldova to the US a year ago, had contracted Fishman’s company ‘Gular Limited’ to orchestrate a $1 Billion USD fraud against the government of Moldova’s by issuing illegal unsecured loans from former state bank ‘Banca de Economii’ and other banks to companies controlled by Plahotniuc.

When his companies defaulted on the massive loans, Banca de Economii, and other Moldovan financial institutions, had to be bailed out by the government to the tune of over $900 million USD.

This scandal, locally referred to as ‘the theft of the century’ eerily sound familiar; last year Vitali Fishman was identified as one of the ‘Co-Conspirators’ in a US Federal indictment in a complex scam whereby, senior managers of Credit Suisse bank provided and facilitated over over 2 Billion USD in unsecured loans to the state-owned Mozambique Tuna Company (Ematum) that ended up in default causing a major economic crisis in the country. These types of ‘loans’ in Africa that are issued to companies without any collateral or political oversight are rampant in Africa and Vitali Fishman has played a key role in most of them.

Moldova is seeking US assistance in extraditing Vladimir Plahotniuc who is currently residing in Florida. Last month Radio Free Europe reported earlier this year that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Plahotniuc "corrupt actions undermined the rule of law and severely compromised the independence of democratic institutions in Moldova." (Moldova Charges Plahotniuc In $1 Billion Fraud, Will Seek U.S. Extradition ). While Plahotniuc waits his inevitable forced reparation back to Moldova, Vitali Fishman has slipped away, yet again and his where abouts are currently unknown.

Vitali Fishman’s past is riddled with shadowy deals. In addition to the Credit-Suisse- Mozambique affair Fishman is facing criminal investigations in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Belarus for tampering with government defense tenders, and has been linked to several other bribery cases in Africa in Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and over five of other African countries. This latest scandal in Moldova seems to have been executed in classic ‘Fishman Style’; brazen, daring and with full complicity of government officials who he allegedly paid out millions of dollars to.

Vitali Fishman (Back row 3nd from right) seen here in a photo with senior officials of Turkmenistan’s Presidential Guard in December 2018

The senior Official in the Romanian Intelligence Service also confirmed that foreign media reports identifying Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor as one of the key players in the scandal are “correct”. Shor is a close associate of Vitali Fishman (both men are duo-national Israelis) and was also linked to a bribery scandal with Fishman in Belarus. Shor was charged and later convicted of the Moldovan fraud case in 2016but since fled to Israel where it is believed he oversees Fishman’s Eastern European operations. (Fishman holds Belarus and Israeli citizenships; Shor has Moldovan and Israeli).

Romania and Moldova have a common border and close economic ties; Romanian is the official language of Moldova and the country was created after the second world war during Stalin’s ruthless suppression of Eastern Europe during the early days of the cold war. (Moldova used to be a province of Romania). For this reason, Romania, a close ally of the US and a key NATO member, is on the frontline with Moldova and monitors money laundering and illicit narcotic activities of criminal gangs who use Moldova as a key staging ground. Last week the Russian Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Plahotniuc for ‘extensive drug trafficking’ and it comes as no surprise that Vitali Fishman is, according to the senior Official in the Romanian Intelligence Service, a “Person of Interest in several on going investigations linked to the money laundering of Plahotniuc’s narcotic operations”.

Fat chance that the Russian government will ever indict Fishman on anything less than a parking ticket. Last month I published an exposé on Fishman’s murky connections with the Russian government. Verified documentation obtained by our investigative journalists “revealed that Fishman’s company ‘Gular Ltd.’ (based out of Cyprus) transferred ownership of this company’s shares to a senior official of the state owned Russian Defense Export Authority known in Russian as ‘ROSOBORONEXPORT’ in 2017”. Vladimir Plahotniuc on the other hand had icy relations with the Russians who historically consider Moldova in its sphere of influence and now have warm relations with the current President Igor Dodon who, in April this year, negotiated a 200 Million Euro loan from Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to stabilize Moldova’s economy which is still feeling the impact of the massive 1 Billion USD fraud committed by Fishman and Vladimir Plahotniuc. (Moldova’s former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who was a close personal friend of both Plahotniuc and Fishman was convicted of fraud and taking bribes in the case and served three years in prison- ).

A senior unnamed Official close to Moldova’s Prosecutor-General Alexandru Stoianoglo (who issued the indictment against Vladimir Plahotniuc on May 18) bemoaned the litany of people who simply seem to be able to steal from the country’s main banks with impunity and then flee the country. The unnamed Official had harsh words for Plahotniuc, Vitali Fishman and the now wanted Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor “Plahotniuc really screwed this country but thankfully will be eventually extradited here soon.

Fishman and Shor are another matter altogether. Their close ties with the Kremlin and the fact that they are both Israeli’s has protected them up to now but believe me we are in contact with our counter-parts in Moscow and Jerusalem and these criminals will not escape justice”.

As Vitali Fishman’s criminal activities become more exposed the net of international law enforcement is closing in around him. Fishman has not been seen in public anywhere for the last few weeks and despite great efforts we have not been able to locate him. But the fact that he has gone into hiding is a good sign-it means that he is worried of his impending arrest. Fishman’s ruthlessness will be his downfall. Despite showering his corrupt government contacts in Moldova and elsewhere with money there are some government officials in many countries where he operates in that have had enough of him and ‘can’t be bought’. It’s these brave officials who will do what has to be done and will eventually arrest and prosecute Vitali Fishman. Anything short of that is unacceptable. Fishman deserves nothing less.


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