Moldova Needs to Shake Money-Laundering Reputation, Central Bank Chief Says

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The head of Moldova’s central bank said major foreign banks were increasingly wary of working in the ex-Soviet nation after a spate of money-laundering scandals in recent years, despite progress overhauling the country’s banking system.

The country was nearly bankrupted in 2015 after $1 billion was stolen from three of its largest banks. From 2011 to 2014, some $22.3 billion of Russian money was allegedly laundered through the Moldovan financial system.

Serdgiu Cioclea, who was appointed to run the central bank after the fraud scandal and to oversee reform of the country’s banks, said Moldova needed to make mending its reputation abroad a priority.

“Moldova has not yet turned the page in connection with the laundering of dirty money in the recent past,” Cioclea told Reuters in an interview. “Large international banks are closing correspondent accounts (in Moldova) one after another.”

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