Vladimir Plahotniuc found a hash trail

The Moldavian oligarch was accused of drug deliveries to Russia, but was not arrested.
The Tver District Court refused to arrest the Moldovan oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, who was accused in absentia by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of organizing a criminal community, who had delivered hundreds of kilograms of hash from Russia to Morocco in six years, marked with € or the Audi emblem.

The Tver court did not consider the petition of the Investigative Department (SD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for long. After hearing the lawyer Daria Konstantinova, representing the interests of Vladimir Plahotniuc, the judge only clarified with the investigator whether the Moldovan oligarch was put on the international wanted list and whether the criminal cases brought against him were merged into one proceeding.

Mr. Plahotniuc, who is now living in the USA, is accused in absentia by the same SD of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia of creating an organized criminal community (OPS; article 210 of the Criminal Code) for the withdrawal of billions of rubles from Russia, and the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) - of organizing an attempt (article 30 and Art. 105 of the Criminal Code) on his political opponent, Renato Usatii.

Having heard twice “no” from the representative of the investigation, the judge retired to the deliberation room. After leaving about twenty minutes later, the judge dismissed the arrest petition - which in fact means refusal. Mrs. Konstantinova considered it logical. She noted that Vladimir Plahotniuc has nothing to do with drugs, and called his criminal prosecution politically motivated.

The lawyer noted that two years ago, Interpol had already refused for political reasons to bring Mr. Plahotniuc into his search base at the Russian request, therefore, she considers new efforts in this direction pointless.

The Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs considers the oligarch to be the organizer of an international drug cartel, which has supplied hundreds of kilograms of hashish from Morocco to Russia. According to investigators, the drug cartel originated in the mid-2000s, when Moldovan criminal authorities Oleg Prutyanu (Borman) and Semyon Stigarescu (Sasha Athlete, Patlaty) were serving long sentences in a Lisbon prison for racketeering and kidnapping. Sasha Athlete, for example, received 21 years. In prison, they met the Spanish felon Manuel Silvino Palma de la Paz (Lolo), who was behind the organization of drug trafficking from Morocco. The Spaniard and told them about the prospects of the criminal business. In 2012, when Borman was released, and Sasha the Athlete was deported to serve his sentence in Moldova, where he immediately left, the Spanish "authority" flew to them in Chisinau. In June 2012, according to the prosecution, in the company of prison friends, he met with the then head of the Democratic Party of Moldova, Plahotniuc, who, according to the investigation, represented the interests of local organized crime.

The meeting participants discussed hashish supply routes, their volumes, transportation costs and shared the estimated profit between the organizers of drug trafficking.

Lolo, along with his acquaintance Isidore Fernandez Guzman (Isi), got the purchase of drugs in Morocco and their transport to Spain. Borman and Sasha the Athlete undertook to ensure interaction with the criminal world and the transportation of hash in Europe. And Vladimir Plahotniuc, having learned that the estimated profit should be 1000%, as stated in the case file, promised the protection of drug traffickers by the authorities and law enforcement agencies of Moldova, the case file said. In addition, according to investigators, one of the most influential Moldovan politicians of that time, took upon himself financial issues, including the legalization of money received from drug trafficking through banks controlled by him.

Interestingly, the Russian investigation was never able to establish how Lolo ended up in Chisinau - no marks were found that he crossed the Moldovan border.

Mr. Plahotniuc, the investigation is sure, attracted the “authority” Gennady Veku (Clifford) and professional kickboxer Konstantin Tsutsu to provide force cover for the canal. The latter’s fighting club recruited and trained militants used for military actions and security. It is curious that in December 2014, Mr. Tsutsu became a member of the Moldovan parliament from the Democratic Party and joined the Commission on National Security, Defense and Public Order. After this, the young politician will, on behalf of his boss, contact the representatives of law enforcement agencies, solving all operational issues related to drug trafficking.

In total, dozens of people participated in the organization of drug trafficking. And the method for transporting hash, launched in 2012, resembled the Prohibition of Alcohol Delivery scheme shown in the movie Once Upon a Time in America, using only new technologies. Hemp pressed into rectangular briquettes on small boats was delivered through the Strait of Gibraltar to the coast of Spain. In neutral waters, briquettes tied with scotch tape and packed in airtight containers with GPS trackers were thrown overboard. Then, from Spain, under the guise of fishing schooners, another group approached the dumping sites, which caught containers and delivered them to farms, one of which belonged to Lolo's father-in-law. Here, hash was packaged in kilogram packages, which were labeled with the € badge, stars, snowflakes or Audi company emblems - criminals carefully monitored their competitors to avoid using their signs. Then the drugs were loaded into cars equipped with hiding places, also equipped with trackers. The minimum weight of one delivery was 300 kg - therefore, the MAN tractor was often used for transportation. Drugs were delivered to Moscow through the territory of Moldova, Ukraine or Belarus. In 2016, by the joint efforts of the Spanish, Belarusian and Russian law enforcement agencies, many members of the drug cartel were arrested. Gentlemen Plahotniuc and Tsutsu are on the wanted list, but the identities of several more people, including Misha Fool, have not been established.

It is worth noting that the case itself is based on the testimonies of two classified witnesses who appear in the materials under the pseudonyms Lastochkin and Experienced.