London silk to investigate £500m Moldovan banking fraud

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Nov 09, 2017
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The former Moldovan prime minister Vlad Filat was among those convicted over the fraud, dubbed the "theft of the century"

Fredrik Sandberg/Reuters

A British QC has been appointed to investigate one of the world’s biggest frauds, in which up to half a billion pounds was laundered through the UK.

The fraud took place after the Moldovan banking crisis. James Ramsden, QC, of 39 Essex Chambers in London, has been appointed to investigate claims that the money was hidden in the UK.

In what is known as the “theft of the century”, criminals escaped with more than £500 million from the in the Republic of Moldova’s banking system. The equivalent of an eighth of the country’s GDP disappeared from three of its largest banks between 2008 and 2014. 

While there have been multiple arrests and global criminal investigations, with the former prime minister Vlad Filat and businessman Vyacheslav Platon having been convicted, no money has been recovered. 

Ramsden was engaged by one of those accused, Ilan Shor, through his lawyer Denis Ulanov in order to prove his innocence. Shor was prosecuted with fraud but the charge was dropped and replaced with abuse of office.

Ramsden is to challenge a report produced by Kroll, the corporate investigating firm, and aims to expose those responsible and track the missing money.

The silk has a record of involvement in large fraud investigations. This year he was appointed to assist in the tracking of the equivalent of £2.75 billion stolen from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. 

The government appears determined to tackle financial abuse after massive international movements of money, including allegations of tax avoidance by Apple and Lewis Hamilton in the so-called Panama Papers. 

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