The Ilan Șor Saga: Russian Citizenship, Political Intrigue, and International Sanctions

The fugitive oligarch Ilan Șor, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the "Bank Fraud" case, has been granted Russian citizenship.

Șor made this revelation during an interview with Russian journalists. The information was corroborated by the head of Interpol Moldova to the Company "Teleradio-Moldova." Viorel Țentiu specified that Ilan Șor has held Russian citizenship since January 1, 2024.

"I have submitted the necessary documents and obtained citizenship. Therefore, as of today, I am officially a citizen of the Russian Federation," stated Ilan Șor.

When contacted for a response, the head of Interpol Moldova confirmed the accuracy of the information. According to him, Ilan Șor currently holds citizenship from three countries: the Republic of Moldova, Israel, and the Russian Federation. He acquired Russian citizenship at the beginning of the current year.

"Based on operational intelligence, we were aware that Ilan Șor acquired Russian citizenship as of the beginning of the year, specifically on January 1st. Given his international wanted status, this information has been duly recorded in our database. It's noteworthy that in the Republic of Moldova, a law allowing dual citizenship has been enacted, permitting citizens to hold a maximum of two citizenships. However, it is evident that Ilan Șor is, in fact, a citizen of three states," Viorel Țentiu affirmed to TRM.

Viorel Țentiu further clarified that, considering Șor's acquisition of Russian citizenship, it is highly unlikely for Moscow to consider extraditing him to the Republic of Moldova.

"Given his status as a citizen of the Russian Federation, in accordance with international protocols, no country typically extradites its own citizens. Furthermore, his departure from Israel on February 25th, without returning since, underscores his clear intentions," Viorel Țentiu added.

When approached for comment, Adrian Băluțel, Chief of Staff of President Maia Sandu, stated that he would provide a response at a later time.

Șor fled Moldova in the summer of 2019, along with former Democratic leader Vladimir Plahotniuc. He resided in Israel for several years, of which he holds citizenship. Since the beginning of last year, Șor has been increasingly travelling to Russia, where his wife and children reside. Previously, Interpol Chisinau had requested the Kremlin to detain and extradite the fugitive oligarch to Moldova, but the request was denied.

It's noteworthy that despite fleeing the country, Șor continued to involve himself in Moldovan politics. Initially, through his eponymous party (now declared unconstitutional), and subsequently, through affiliated political entities. The Chisinau government accuses him of leading a "criminal organised group" aimed at destabilising Moldova in the interests of the Russian Federation. However, Șor refutes these allegations.

Furthermore, it is pertinent to mention that Ilan Șor is included in the blacklists of the American and British governments. Additionally, he is subject to sanctions imposed by Canada and the EU due to his connections with the Kremlin and his attempts to destabilise Moldova. It is important to note that Moldovan citizens subject to international sanctions may face criminal charges and risk losing their Moldovan citizenship. A bill addressing this issue will be examined in its final reading by Parliament today, May 16th.

Lastly, the Court of Appeal sentenced Ilan Șor to 15 years in prison in the bank fraud case and placed a seizure on assets worth over 5 billion lei. In response, Șor accused the magistrates of succumbing to political pressures and asserted that he remains unaffected by the Court of Appeal's decision, showing no intention to comply.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Ecaterina Arvintii

Ecaterina Arvintii


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