Ottawa imposes broad dealings bans on ‘Russian collaborators’ in Moldova

By Cristin Schmitz

Law360 Canada (June 1, 2023, 3:09 PM EDT) -- In step with the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, Canada has sanctioned seven individuals and one political party in Moldova, under the Special Economic Measures (Moldova) Regulations created last month in response to foreign collaboration in Russia’s continuing war of aggression against Ukraine.   

Moldova’s democratically elected president warned last February that Russia was planning a coup amid protests and provocations that Moldovan and Ukrainian intelligence said were backed by the Kremlin.

“Systemic corruption by Moldovan oligarchs has impacted several of Moldova’s political and economic institutions, which have then been used as instruments of Russia’s malign influence campaign in Moldova and beyond,” Global Affairs Canada said, as part of the explanation for Ottawa’s creation of new regulations related to Moldova that came into force May 30.

“Russia seeks to hinder the democratic reforms that the current government of Moldova is pursuing as it seeks EU membership,” the federal government said. “This includes ongoing violations of human rights.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly

The resulting sanctions, which also went into effect May 30, 2023, impose a broad ban, including asset freezes, on dealing with seven people the federal government described as “Russian collaborators in Moldova” — a group made up of oligarchs, business people, parliamentarians and politicians connected to Russia.

Global Affairs Canada said the sanctioned entity, Shor Party, a political party closely connected with a sanctioned individual, Ilan Mironovich Shor, “has worked to destabilize Moldova’s democratically-elected government in favour of Russia.”

“As Russia threatens to leverage its presence on Moldovan territory to draw the country into the war of aggression against Ukraine, these new sanctions will undermine Russia’s efforts to restrain Moldova’s national government from exercising full sovereignty over its territory,” Global Affairs Canada said.

The sanctioned individuals are Vladimir Plahotniuc; Ilan Mironovich Shor; Vladimir Andronachi; Veaceslav Platon; Constantin Botnari; Gheorghe Cavcaliuc; and Marina Tauber.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said in a statement June 1 “Canada will continue to work with its international partners to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable attacks of their sovereignty and to protect their citizens from the oppressive Russian regime.”

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