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Vlad Plahotniuc Moldova seeks Swiss help investigating controversial tycoon

police guard Moldova's Parliament in Chisinau, Moldova

Between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova became an independent republic following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

(Keystone)

Moldova has sent the Swiss authorities a request for mutual legal assistance in connection to an investigation focused on tycoon Vlad Plahotniuc.

The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) received the request on August 26, according to the weekly NZZ am Sonntag and Swiss news agency SDA-Keystone.

The request was forwarded to the public prosecutor’s office of Zurich, Switzerland’s leading financial hub.

The FOJ did not provide details about the request. However, according to the German-language newspaper, it cannot be ruled out that the Moldovan Public Prosecutor's Office requests that Plahotniuc's funds deposited in Zurich banks be frozen. The Moldovan tycoon also owns a villa in Collonge-Bellerive in the canton of Geneva.

The controversial oligarch, 53, was the most powerful and richest man in one of Europe’s poorest countries. On the run since June, Plahotniuc denies using political influence for personal gain.

The Moldovan Public Prosecutor's Office has been investigating him since a change of government last February. More than $1 billion (CHF1 billion) disappeared from Moldova's state-owned banks in 2014.

SDA-Keystone-swissinfo.ch/ds

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