Balkan (Englisch)

Scharfschütze erschiesst Dalibor Gjuric, Im Gefängniss von Kotor

Dalibor DjuricDalibor Gjuric, inmate at the prison in the Montenegrin city of Kotor sentenced as part of a high profile cocaine running gang, was killed by a sniper as he was exercising in the prison yard on Thursday afternoon.

The killer hid on a hill overlooking the Spuzh prison, and shot Gjuric who died in hospital where he was rushed for treatment. The bullet went through a wire fence and hit him in the chest. Gjuric had survived several earlier assassination attempts. Police found a burning Skoda vehicle with Italian license plates near the prison, and believes it was used by the mafia sniper.

It’s believed that a dozen of mafia killings related to Kotor based gangs are related to a 2014 incident in which 200 kilograms of cocaine were stolen in Spain.


Assassin’s Bullet Claims Jailed Montenegrin Gangster

A jailed boss of one the rival drugs clans in the resort of Kotor was shot dead in prison on Thursday while serving a two-year sentence for extortion.

In the latest violence related to drug clans clashes in the Montenegrin resort of Kotor, a jailed alleged drugs gang member was killed by an unknown sniper while outdoors in the yard of the high security state prison in Podgorica on Thursday evening.

Police blocked the street surrounding the Spuz prison and raided the area to try to locate the assassin, but only found a car set on fire near the prison.

Police confirmed that the victim was Dalibor Djuric, believed to be a boss of the Skaralji clan in Kotor, a resort town plagued by gang violence in recent months.

„After the shooting, the prison management informed the police and the competent Prosecutor’s Office, which has launched an investigation,“ the Prison Administration said.

Djuric had been in jail since October 2014 after being guilty of extortion. He was accused of various other drug-related crimes and even killings in both Serbia and Montenegro but those charges were never proved in court.

During his trial in Kotor in 2014, both Djuric and the police officers who were escorting him were placed under increased security because of fears that he might be targeted while coming to and from the courthouse.

The prison yard assassination is the third drugs-related killing in a few months, after a bomb blast killed two alleged members of drug gangs in September,.

Calls are growing for the Montenegrin authorities to do more to stop the continuing violence in the town.

Five people have been killed since early 2015 in aparent clashes between the rival Skaljari and Kavac clans, named after neighbourhoods in Kotor.

In an interview with BIRN, Goran Danilovic, Montenegro’s Interior Minister, said gang violence in Kotor had worsened because the criminals enjoyed support from certain state structures.

He said organized crime could only be overcome by an organized response from the state – but complained that the response to the problem had been “poor”.

A decade ago, it emerged that the Balkan drug kingpin Darko Saric had begun to invest huge sums of money in Kotor, mostly in the tourism sector.

The first shootouts occurred in Kotor in 2008. Two years later, one of Saric’s closest associates, Zoran FricDudic, was shot dead on the main square in daylight.

In a first-instance verdict in July 2015, the Special Court for Organised Crime in Belgrade jailed Saric for 20 years for smuggling cocaine from Latin America.

The court also convicted around 30 other defendants, 14 of whom are still on the run, for smuggling more than five tons of cocaine from South America in 2008 and 2009, giving them jail sentences of five months to 20 years.

War crime: Tony Blair Winds up Operations in Albania

1] “Smoking gun emails reveal Blair’s ’deal in blood’ with George Bush over Iraq war was forged a YEAR before the invasion had even started”, Glen Owen & William Lowther, The Daily Mail, October 18, 2015.

shayler-gaddafi.htm   David Shayler on MI6 Kill Gaddafi Coverup        November 11, 2001

23 Sep 16

Tony Blair Winds up Operations in Albania

After the former UK Prime Minister said he was closing down his business empire, his office confirmed to BIRN that his dealings with Albania, which were never made public, are also complete.

Fatjona Mejdini


Edi Rama and Tony Blair during a government meeting in October 2013. Photo:

Tony Blair Associates, which is closing down, has completed and finished its tasks with the Albanian government, ending a period of collaboration that started in 2013.

„Tony Blair Associates has completed its project with Albania and were very pleased to have assisted the Prime Minister [Edi Rama] and his government in their efforts to deliver greater prosperity for the people of Albania,“ Benedict Macon-Cooney, a Blair media adviser, wrote to BIRN in an email.

„As you will know, Mr Blair has often said how much the country and its people mean to him,“ he continued.

On Tuesday in a public announcement, the former Prime Minister and UK Labour leader Blair said he was close down his hugely criticised lobbying and consultancy operations in order to focus on non-profit and charity work.

Tony Blair Associates, founded in 2007  and at one time employing around 200 people, worked in more than 20 different countries around the world.

Blair’s work in Albania has always remained a mystery and never was truly revealed. The collaboration started in September 2013, the same month that Rama took over as Albanian Prime Minister.

After meeting Blair in New York and London, Rama co-directed a meeting with Blair in October 2013, when he explained that the former UK Prime Minister would help the new centre-left government in Tirana to prioritize its reforms, and make them have a real impact on people’s lives.


Irak-Krieg: „Tony Blair sollte in Ketten vor Gericht“

Serbischer Sport Drogen Schmuggel: Jevto Jevtic, vom FK Zemun football club

Serbia: Football Fan Club Leader Among 30 Arrested in Drug Bust

A joint investigation by Serbian and German law enforcement has led to the arrest of 30 people, including the head of a Belgrade football fan club,on suspicion of producing and trafficking tens of millions of dollars worth of drugs, Serbia‘s interior minister said Tuesday.

serbian police cocaine copyAuthorities seized more than US$ 22.4 million worth of narcotics (Photo: Serbian Ministry of Interior) Authorities seized more than €20 million (US$ 22.4 million) worth of narcotics, comprising 303 kilograms of cocaine, 96 kilograms of cannabis, and 106 kilograms of hashish, as well as money and weapons, in a series of raids, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told a press briefing. Two people were also arrested in Germany and one in Croatia, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office said in a statement.

The arrests in Germany took place near the city of Essen, where police said that more than 100 officers from several departments were deployed. Two alleged members of the group were arrested and 25 locations were searched, German police said, including several “indoor plantations” used by the group to grow cannabis.

Stefanovic said the leader of the group was the head of a Belgrade football fan club, but did not provide further details. Local media identified the man as Jevto Jevtic, 33, from FK Zemun football club supporter’s group the Taurunum Boys.

The operation follows the separate arrest of 66 people in Serbia on Saturday on charges including drug production and trafficking, and the seizure of 5.7 kilograms of narcotics.

Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project partner the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) reported that Saturday’s operation only targeted low-level drug dealers and not the suspected leaders of the organized crime groups.

Dodik’s referendum – opening Pandora’s box in the Balkans?

BiH 2016 local election:

Dodik’s referendum – opening Pandora’s box in the Balkans?”


Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold local election on 2 October 2016. There are 3,345,486 registered voters in the country. The number of voters who will vote by post at the forthcoming election has significantly increased to 65,111. About 30,000 candidates are competing for the positions in the future local government. Altogether 2,835 councillors will be elected, of which 1,687 in the Federation of  Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), 1,117 in Republika Srpska (RS) and 31 in the Brčko District, as well as 301 city council members of which 117 in FBiH and 184 in RS, 131 mayors of municipalities and 12 mayors of cities.


Election will be held in all local government units with the exception of the city of Mostar where no election has been held since 2008. The greatest responsibility for the situation in Mostar lies with two leading parties: the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and Croatian Democratic Union of BiH (HDZBiH). Despite their optimistic announcements regarding the agreement to be concluded on local elections in Mostar, the current political leadership has not reached any solution yet.


Local election marked by traditional political rivalries


The current election campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been marked by traditional political rivalries.


As usually there are two political blocks in Republika Srpska: one coalition comprises Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD), Democratic People’s Union  (DNS) and the Socialist Party (SP), while the other one (Union for Change) is a coalition between the Serb Democratic Party (SDS), the Party of Democratic Progress  (PDP) and Democratic People’s Alliance (NDP). The Union for Change has lost much power due to collaboration between PDP leader and Serb Member of BiH Presidency Mladen Ivanić and SNSD leader and President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik. With PDP rapidly losing support among the electorate, Ivanić is using inappropriate rhetoric that creates further tensions in BiH in order to regain some of that support. This is a classic example of “political prostitution”, which is characteristic of Ivanić.


The SDA-SBB coalition (SBB – Union for a Better Future) is the absolute favourite of the upcoming local election. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) is on the defensive, trying to find its place within the opposition. The Democratic Front (DF) has been trying to present itself as the opposition party and a fierce critic of the government, in which it has partly succeeded due to numerous failures made by the incumbent government. It is becoming more and more obvious that in the SDA-SBB coalition SDA will gradually take over SBB’s power. Judicial prosecution of SBB leader Fahrudin Radončić has left a heavy burden for the future of this party. Election of a new SBB leader could eventually prevent its decline and open the possibilities for the party to disengage from SDA’s patronage.


Election in the Brčko District will be especially interesting. Brčko has become a training ground for measuring the power of political parties in RS and FBiH. All the largest parties have announced they will hold their main election rallies in Brčko, which will further aggravate the atmosphere in the District where considerable regression has been noticed in last years. The Brčko District is an administrative unit of BiH with probably the highest number of initiated and the lowest number of completed projects.


HDZBiH dominates in areas with predominantly Croatian population where it will be very difficult to undermine its position.


Of special concern will be the forthcoming local election in Srebrenica due to the genocide committed against the Bosniaks and since a large number of voters from Serbia have been illegally added to the electoral rollof the municipality of Srebrenica. In view of the above stated and other possible malpractices in the election process and at the election it will be of grave importance to carry out monitoring in Srebrenica.


While the higher state level is engaged by opposing political options, the local level thrives with numerous unprincipled coalitions and a large number of independent candidates and tickets.

Dodik’s referendum – an introduction into new geopolitical changes


Current events in Bosnia and Herzegovina are further complicating the announced referendum in Republika Srpska scheduled for 25 September 2016, the aim of which is to annul the decision of the BiH Constitutional Court that 9 January is unconstitutional for celebrating the Day of Republika Srpska since it insults the feelings of the other two nations in the RS entity, the Bosniaks and the Croats, as it was proclaimed by only one nation, the Serbs.


The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (OHR) Valentin Inzko and the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) have estimated that the announced referendum on the National Day of Republika Srpska has an anti-Dayton character and threatens peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.


Milorad Dodik is trying to force the Constitutional Court to revoke its decision or to revise its judgement. This is clearly a case of legal nonsense, since judgements of the Constitutional Court can not be not subject to revision – by submitting itself to revision the Constitutional Court would actually abolish itself, which is obviously Dodik’s goal.


In his public appearances Dodik has been wise enough to stress that in Bosnia and Herzegovina decisions should be adopted with the consensus of all the three nations, while the decision on 9 January was only made by the representatives of one nation – the Serbs. The solution for this crisis would be to involve all the three nations, Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, in the decision-making on the National Day of Republika Srpska. However, it is obvious that Dodik lacks the democratic capacity, so he uses the instrumentalist approach and manipulates the feelings of his fellow Serbs in order to realise his one and only goal – to remain in power.


Russia is strongly involved in the referendum situation in RS, and Serbia has also shown certain pretensions, although Aleksandar Vučić and Tomislav Nikolić stated they do not support the referendum, but they do not oppose it either. In fact this means tacit support – the connoisseurs of the political situation are fully aware that decisions on Republika Srpska are made in Belgrade, and the same goes for the present referendum.


Another proof of Russia’s involvement is the announced Milorad Dodik’s visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for 22 September 2016. In international relations it is inconceivable that Russia’s President receives a president of some region of another country, except if the visitor is an exponent of Russia’s politics in that region. In this case Dodik acts in Russian interests which are primarily focused on preventing BiH from gaining NATO full membership and eventually also on the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The referendum that is to take place in Republika Srpska on 25 September 2016 is an introduction into new geopolitical turmoil and will open Pandora’s box in the Balkans with unimaginable consequences. This may lead to large geopolitical changes in the region as well as globally, and the announcement of Dodik’s referendum may stir the process of internal (re)organisation of BiH.


Analysts believe that if the referendum actually takes place on 25 September 2016, this may lead to a chain reaction and a series of new referenda in BiH and the region. Even Serbia will not be able to avoid this chain of referenda, with Albanians in the Preševo Valley (Preševo, Medveđa, Bujanovac), who believe they are the “Eastern Kosovo”, demanding annexation to Kosovo, followed by the secession tendencies of the Bosniaks in Sandžak – although most of Bosniak leaders are Vučić’s followers, as well as Bulgarians in the region bordering Bulgaria and Vlachs in east Serbia, and possibly even a referendum in Vojvodina that will not be demanded by minority communities. The situation in Macedonia will be further destabilised and the Serbs in Montenegro, encouraged with the support from Moscow and Belgrade, will endeavour to create their own entity in that country. There are many aspects that will lead to destabilisation in the region due to Dodik’s referendum. Any Serbia’s escapade with Republika Srpska may cause it to lose Vojvodina. Even Russia warned Serbia of this danger a few years ago.


Analysts have estimated that the announced referendum in RS will lead to the process of changes in internal (re)organisation of BiH based on the shock doctrine. In democracy it is impossible to make any radically change in direction without some shock that would “allow” those who have staged that shock to organise the state according to their own principles and plans. In Dodik’s case it is paradoxical that he is creating a shock in the interests of others, while he is being applauded for his “suicidal” action by almost all of his public.


Analysts believe that participation of foreign judges in the BiH Constitutional Court still brings certain new quality, since it contributes to the reduction of politisation and provincialisation of such an important body.


Ljubljana, 17 September 2016


Albanians Trade Accusations Over Mystery Plane Crash

News 16 Sep 16

Albanians Trade Accusations Over Mystery Plane Crash

The crash of an Italian plane – reportedly carrying drugs – in the Ishem area of Albania has become the subject of numerous conflicting claims between politicians and journalists.

Fatjona Mejdini


The plane crashed in Ishem. Photo: State Police

Mystery – and a thick web of conspiracy theories – surrounds the circumstances under which a small plane with an Italian pilot crashed on Thursday in the Ishem area north of Tirana, leaving the pilot who was flying alone slightly injured.

Ishem, Lande Piste
Ishem, Lande Piste

After police at first reported that 69-year-old Andrea Guidi said he was flying over Albania for innocent purposes, it is now widely believed he was on a drug-trafficking mission. The journalist who broke the story was meanwhile briefly detained.

Initially, after the downed plane was found, Albanian police said that in his first testimony, the pilot had claimed he had set off from Bari in Italy across Albania to enjoy the fine views, and the plane had crashed for „technical reasons“.

However, media and opposition parties immediately questioned this version, comparing the crash to another in May 2014, when an Italian pilot, Giorgio Riformato, crashed his plane in Divjaka in southern Albania, while it was loaded with cannabis.

Thursday’s crash then took on a new a twist after a journalist revealed that the pilot had offered to collaborate with prosecutors after confirming that he was flying over Albania to prepare to transport drugs.

Journalist Artan Hoxha broke the news on TV Klan on Thursday that Guidi had told prosecutors that he was inspecting the terrain, while planning to return after 20 days and pick up 200 kg of cannabis.

After the TV show, prosecutors detained the journalist, however, accusing him of divulging the secrets of the official investigation.

A video of the moment when Hoxha was asked to testify about the sources of his information shows him saying: „I didn’t know that the information I got was a part of the secrets of the investigation“. The journalist was released an hour later….

Ohne Anmeldung bei der Flugkontrolle, flog der Italienische Pilot Andrea Guidi, 69 Jahre in Albanien herum, musste bei Kruje notlanden. Seröse Medien sprechen davon, das auch dieser Pilot, Cannabis laden wollte. Der Pilot wird später zugeben, das er die Landebahn testen wollte, kurz aufsetzte, ein Rad abbrach und durchstarten nicht mehr möglich war. Das Grundstück wurde vermietet, an Personen, welche ausdrücklich mitteilten, das man eine Lande Piste anlegen will: Namen bis jetzt unbekannt. Arthur Bushai, und die Familie Bracaj, Edi Rama Financier?

Arthur Bushi, vorbestrafter Drogen Boss – Bürgermeister, baute eine eigene Landepiste für Drogen Schmuggler Flugzeugt

Balkan Police System: Romania: Group Trafficking Minors for Sex Trade Protected by Police Chief

Romania: Group Trafficking Minors for Sex Trade Allegedly Protected by Police Chief

Romanian authorities arrested the police chief of the southeastern town of Mizil and three alleged members of a prostitution ring whose operations the chief allegedly protected. The group is accused of coercing minors into prostitution.

Mizil, Romania (Photo: Musichistory2009, CC BY-SA 3.0)Police Chief Marius Rotaru and the three alleged traffickers were detained Thursday under suspicion of establishing a criminal organization, trafficking of minors, human trafficking, robbery, rape, and abuse of power in favoring an offender.

Prosecutors believe the group has been active since December 2015, when its members started recruiting girls for street prostitution.

The girls, say prosecutors, were coerced into daily prostitution, often with physical abuse.

Rotaru is believed to have protected the pimp network, using his powers as police chief to help them escape prosecution. According to the local Romania Journal, some of the exploited girls complained to police in Mizil, but the office, run by Rotaru, would not act on these complaints.

Prosecutors also believe Rotaru demanded sexual favors from the prostitutes in return for his help.

According to a number of local media sources, the Prahova County Court accepted a request by prosecutors to hold the defendants in preventive arrest for 30 days.

The US Department of State considers Romania to be a source, transit and destination country for sex trafficking, and says Romanian nationals represent a “significant source” of sex trafficking victims across Europe. Many of those victims, including children, are forced into prostitution by organized crime groups.

The State Department’s 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report says, “Government officials have been convicted of human trafficking crimes, and there have been reported instances of local officials obstructing trafficking investigations.”

At the end of August, Romanian police raided several locations and arrested eight people as part of an international crackdown on a Romanian prostitution ring that operated within 10 cities in the United Kingdom.

Hollande warnt Balkan Länder vor dem Missbrauch der Visa Freiheit

Hollande: I’ve discussed free movement of seconded staff; France will not tolerate abuses

By   /  13/09/2016  /  Politics, RO Politics, RO Social, Romania, Social  /  No Comments


Bucharest, September 13, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency France’s President Francois Hollande said Tuesday that in his conversations with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis he approached the free movement of seconded workers and the European directive related to it, emphasising that France will not tolerate abuse. “The freedom of seconded workers was a matter I’ve discussed with […]

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EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Council, Joint press conference

Check against delivery !
Edi, Mr Prime Minister, first of all, it has been really a pleasure for me to welcome you and all the delegation here in Brussels for what I found an excellent meeting we had today. It was not coming as a surprise, because we worked so much and so well together in these last months in particular. It was very important to have this common exercise of assessing where we are today.
First of all, we have commonly underlined that we both remain committed to Albania’s EU integration process. On the European Union’s side, this is a commitment that also translates into the determination to accompany and support this process and it is very clear to us, the European Union, that Albania remains firmly committed to its EU reforms agenda.
We have welcomed and commended the adoption last July of the constitutional amendments on the justice reform. One of the most important, if not the most important reform, carried out in the enlargement countries. This reform is a milestone on Albania’s EU path. I had the chance of saying at your Parliament a few months ago and obviously for me those words stay in my memory and also in the practice of our daily work.
We are convinced that this reform will be transformative for other areas too. It will contribute to creating a more predictable and transparent environment for business and investors. In this way, it will help us increase our economic relations that are already very intense, very good but, we believe, have still a potential that can be exploited.
It is for this reason that for the European Union it is so important that this priority, these reforms, started and also why we see that these reforms enjoy high level of popular support in the country. I believe Albanians see very well that it is in their interest and the interest of the country to move forward.
We believe that political parties have now the responsibility to ensure a swift implementation of the justice reform they, themselves, adopted by unanimity in Parliament, by approving now  the relevant implementing  legislations and by launching the procedures for the vetting process. And we are willing and ready to support Albania in the implementation phase.
Today, we also had the opportunity to discuss important steps forward on others issues, in particular other issues related to rule of law, starting from the fight against organised crime and corruption. And all these positive developments that we recognised, welcomed and commended will be reflected in the work ahead of us in the coming months, in particular in view of the upcoming progress report – not only these positive developments that have already taken place, but also the determination we have seen today to continue on the implementation of them.
Let me also say, two last points that are equally important for us. First of all that Albania is continuing to play a very important, constructive, regional role, promoting cooperation in the Western Balkans. This is something we appreciate a lot and that we encourage a lot and we discussed also the regional situation. I commended the full alignment of Albania on all foreign and security policy issues which is something that all EU Member States appreciate enormously.
We have good outcomes on our talks on the EU integration process, we have also good work that is ongoing on the foreign policy files, on the regional files. This is why I started by saying that today we had a really excellent meeting and Edi, and all your delegation, I would like to thank you very much for that.
Link to the video:

Q & A

Georg Soros Gangsters: Zdravko Saveski und Vladimir Kunovski stehen vor Gericht in Skopje

Vandalismus pure, finanziert durch korrupte EU und US Politiker

Court can’t seem to begin trial against ‚NGO‘ activists who demolished President’s Office
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Skopje: Trial Against Levica Party Members Postponed AgainThe trail against so called „Levica party“ members, Zdravko Saveski and Vladimir Kunovski, suspected of demolishing President Ivanov’s office at a protest on April 13, seems to have trouble commencing. First, the reason for postponement was determining the cost of damages, and now the reason for delay is rationing the determined amount of damages (MKD 520,000) between suspects.

Tuesday’s trial was postponed because the judge still has not obtained (6 months later) the cases on all of the people suspected of demolishing Ivanov’s office, so that the damage amount can be rationed and assigned to all suspects.

„The trial was postponed because the Court has not received a report from the Interior Ministry on the criminal procedures in relation to the incident“, lawyer Sasko Dukovski said.

A new hearing was scheduled for October 18.

Saveski stated for the media that Kunovski and himself are still banned from leaving the state, despite the fact that the Court returned their passports in July.

„While regime representatives, suspected of stealing from the Macedonian people and committing serious crimes, are free to do whatever they want, crime fighters are being prosecuted. At a previous hearing, about two months ago, we retrieved our passports, i.e. the travel ban against us was lifted. But police used all possible measures  to leave the ban in place. We consider this harassment. But we cannot be easily broken.“, Saveski said.

After April 13 protests, which were held against President Ivanov’s abolition decision, several people were indicted, including Saveski and Kunovski. Three demonstrators have already received probation sentences.

Moldovan Mafia: Veaceslav Platon and Emmanuil Grinshpun mastermind of financial crime

Platon’s Money

Businessman Veaceslav Platon, 43, is considered by Moldovan law enforcement to be a mastermind of financial crime. They believe he is linked to money laundering and the theft of billions of dollars from banks, the state and businesses in the former Soviet bloc states including the Republic of Moldova.

In July 2016, Emmanuil Grinshpun sat next to Pavel Filip, the prime-minister of Moldova, during a government meeting with the American Jewish CommitteeIn July 2016, Emmanuil Grinshpun sat next to Pavel Filip, the prime-minister of Moldova, during a government meeting with the American Jewish Committee

Platon, a former member of Moldova’s Parliament, was extradited to Chisinau from Ukraine in late August after Moldovan prosecutors charged him with participating in a scheme to defraud Moldovan banks of US $1 billion.

Platon’s arrest launched a mad scramble as authorities raced to recover the money and assets he allegedly stole. Platon is charged with stealing more than $40 million from Banca de Economii, a Moldovan bank that folded after the billion-dollar theft scandal. RISE Project, RISE Moldova and OCCRP reporters found where Platon invested some of his money which may help Moldovan law enforcement recover some of the missing money.

The Loan

On Dec. 30, 2013, Veaceslav Platon made a verbal deal with his friend, American businessman Emmanuil Grinshpun: he agreed to lend Grinshpun $ 6.3 million.

Grinshpun, who was born in Moldova and whose companies stretch all across Eastern Europe including Romania and Moldova, wanted the money to snap up some property in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital.

It was supposed to be a short-term loan, to be repaid a month later.

According to Grinshpun’s LinkedIn profile, the 44-year-old is the president of the Jewish Congress in Moldova and invests in hotels and shopping malls. He is also a political heavyweight in Moldova and owns companies based in Romania. In July of 2016 he obtained Romanian citizenship.

Grinshpun asked Platon for the loan so he could participate in a sheriff’s auction that was to take place in Chisinau. He intended to buy the UNO complex, a sprawling shopping area near the city’s center with a greenmarket, shops, coffee houses and stalls occupying more than 13,000  square meters. The property had been repossessed by authorities when the previous owner, an offshore company from Cyprus with an unknown owner, could not pay their bills.

One of Grinshpun’s companies, Moldova-based Trans World Entertainment Ltd., won the public auction. The sale was concluded on Jan. 13, 2014, when Platon sent US $6.3 million to the account of the court executor who handled the auction.

One year later, in 2015, the modern Bonus hypermarket opened its doors on the site of the old UNO complex. Situated at a busy intersection near  the Chisinau train station, the market is part of the Bonus chain managed by two Moldovan businessmen.

The Bonus hypermarket was bought by Grinshpun with money from Platon.The Bonus hypermarket was bought by Grinshpun with money from Platon.

Grinshpun had told Platon that he would return the money by the end of January 2014. However, he failed to do so despite Platon’s repeated demands for repayment.

Two months later, in March 2014, Grinshpun agreed to pay 12 percent yearly interest on the loan since he had failed to repay the short-term debt. But the new agreement did not resolve the matter. In August of that same year, the two met in Monaco and Grinshpun signed a written memorandum confirming the debt to Platon.

In September 2014, Grinshpun finally made a payment of US$200,000 via the bank account of a British Virgin Islands company he controlled called Miser Development. This offshore company was also involved in business in St. Petersburg, Russia, and had been involved in a few commercial lawsuits in that country.

The Court Case

Veaceslav Platon was arrested this summer in Kiev, Ukraine on money laundering charges.Veaceslav Platon was arrested this summer in Kiev, Ukraine on money laundering charges. When the US$200,000 installment was not followed by other payments, Platon decided to go to court–but not in Moldova.

On Feb. 27, 2015, Platon filed a complaint in the US federal court in Miami, Fla. in an effort to recover $7 million (the money borrowed plus interest). Court documents outline how the debt was incurred.

Platon said he believed Grinshpun was his friend when he lent him the money. Platon’s lawyer argued that the Miami court had jurisdiction over the case as Grinshpun was a Florida resident.

Grinshpun brought a Moldovan lawyer, Daniel Cobzac, who argued that Moldovan courts were fully capable of dealing with the case and asked the US judge to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

However, by September 2015, it was clear that discussions of some sort were occurring outside of the courtroom.

That action appears to have started in March of 2015, just weeks after Platon filed suit in the US. A company called Anboklin Ltd. was established in Moldova; it is owned on paper by Anatolii Bochkar, a Ukrainian citizen with no other business interests in Moldova.

At the end of June, according to the Moldovan land records office, Trans World agreed that it owed US$7 million, the same amount it owed Platon with interest, to Anboklin and that the building housing the Bonus market would be used as collateral; it also agreed to a repayment schedule extending from June 26, 2015 to June 1, 2017.

It is not clear if Platon is really behind Anboklin, although using Ukrainian citizens as fronts for companies is a Platon trademark. OCCRP and RISE reporters tried to locate Bochkar to confirm whether he was a proxy for Platon or a businessman in his own right but could not find him.

In September, Platon consented to closing the US case without prejudice, implying he had either forgiven or taken care of the debt in another way.

Platon and Grinshpun have had other dealings as well. They share banking interests in Moldova-Agroindbank (MAIB), one of Moldova’s largest banks but one with controversial ownership.

Moldova’s National Bank decided that a group of companies had colluded to acquire a controlling interest in MAIB without the National Bank’s approval. They did this by each company buying less than 5 percent of the bank, the threshold for getting approval from the National Bank and having to provide greater disclosure.

Grinshpun was the representative of Dresfond Invest Ltd., a United Kingdom (UK)-based company which owned 4.48 percent ofMAIB. On paper, Dresfond was also owned by a Ukrainian citizen. Desfond was stripped of its share in March 2016 by the National Bank.

Platon was also interested in MAIB and tried to buy shares via another UK company owned by still another Ukrainian; that attempt was blocked by regulators.

OCCRP reporters repeatedly tried to contact Grinshpun on social networks or via telephone but he did not respond.