Press briefing by the Moldovan SIS Director on dismantling agency network involved in acts of treason and espionage
The SIS jointly with PCCOCS (Prosecutor’s Office for Counteracting Organized Crime and Special Cases) concluded and submitted to court a criminal case initiated on the constitutive elements of “Treason” (art. 337) and “Espionage” (art. 338) of the Criminal Code regarding a group of people involved in organization of hostile activities against the security of the Republic of Moldova.
In particular, starting with 2020, a group of people, consisting of Russian Federation citizens – Iurie G. and Vadim Y. – conducted activities to recruit citizens of the Republic of Moldova in the interest of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and building an agent network in the country.
The activity of the Russian citizens and the agent network was aimed at:
– Influencing the social and political processes of the Republic of Moldova, in the interest of the Russian Federation;
– Maintaining the dependence of the Republic of Moldova on the Russian Federation;
– Carrying out information operations to shape the public opinion.
For two years, during which the activity of the agent network was documented, they collected data and information of social and political nature, especially about legislative intentions and plans, compromising information about political leaders and actors, organized illegal information projects, such as online campaigns via several social media platforms, with a major focus on the Telegram network, which is the platform through which most false information is shared. Likewise, the group committed crimes under a foreign flag and recruited citizens to participate in or provoke violent acts.
In the process, the authorities documented the creation of channels for transferring money from the Russian Federation to the Republic of Moldova in order to finance subversive operations against the interests and security of the Republic of Moldova. Therefore, one of the agents recruited by Iurie G. and Vadim Y., was tasked to identify and secure such financial channels, to provide logistical support for the projects ordered and financed by the FSB, but also to recruit other citizens of the Republic of Moldova.
Among the channels of illegal transfer of funds, the officers documented transfers via cryptocurrency and the so-called “HAVALA” system and involvement in the liquidity system of currency exchange offices. In total, in 2021, about 500 thousand US dollars was transferred from the Russian Federation to the Republic of Moldova, through dark channels. The money was used for carrying out the mentioned illegal activities.
The person brought to justice (under arrest) was recruited on financial considerations, starting in 2021. He was involved in identifying funding channels and participating in the planning and implementation of illegal projects in the interest of the Russian Federation.
At the current stage, the person is accused of committing the crime provided for in art. 337 “Treason”, para. 1, being liable to a criminal penalty of imprisonment from 12 to 20 years. Moreover, during the criminal investigation, the authorities identified the constitutive elements of the crime provided for in art. 190 para. 6 “Fraud on a particularly large scale”.
The criminal investigation continues. Currently, three people are subjected to accusation, among them – citizens of the Russian Federation, Iurie G. and Vadim Y., and a citizen of the Republic of Moldova, who is declared wanted. The SIS and the PCCOCS will inform later about the progress of the criminal investigation.
We mention that the person is presumed innocent until proved guilty by final court sentence.