Almost half of the assets seized by the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency of the Republic of Moldova (CARA) are farmlands. The list can be completed with luxury cars, houses, and even aircrafts. Radu Botezatu, Head of the International Cooperation, Secretariat and Archive Unit and Victoria Danu, Head of the Information Systems and Analytics Directorate within CARA, reported in an exclusive interview how they cooperate with partner institutions abroad, how the criminal assets are identified and the way they keep records of them.
“Our counterparts abroad represent a hub for the exchange of information in the field of recovery of criminal assets. The Asset Recovery Offices and/or Asset Management Offices abroad, have access to the database operated by their national fiscal authority, banks, and other authorities, or they obtain this information through requests at national level and send it to us”, explained Radu Botezatu, Head of the International Cooperation, Secretariat and Archive Unit within CARA.
CARA keeps record of assets seized in the process of conducting parallel financial investigations. They are divided by value, quantity, and location. Once an asset is seized, it cannot be sold. The owner, however, remains entitled to manage it, pays the bills, and takes care of the issues related to that asset.
“If we talk about the most expensive assets, there is an aircraft that costs 278 million MDL. 40% of all seized assets are farmlands, the most expensive one is worth one and a half million. From the means of transport category – the most valuable seized asset is worth 10 million MDL, and for buildings – around 112 million MDL”, explained Victoria Danu, Head of the Information Systems and Analytical Directorate within CARA.
In the case of assets from abroad, a court’s decision is issued in the Republic of Moldova. Afterward, a request is sent to the state where the asset is located. In total, assets worth more than 400 million MDL have been seized in 15 states, but in order to conclude the recovery, the final decision of the court is mandatory.
The Criminal Assets Recovery Agency is a specialized autonomous subdivision within the National Anticorruption Center. CARA was founded in 2017. The Agency conducts parallel financial investigations, as well as the seizure of criminal assets. In the five years of its activity, CARA has managed to identify and recover, in the country and abroad, properties and assets worth more than 6 billion MDL.
This material was made with the support of the Soros Foundation Moldova, in partnership with the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency, an autonomous subdivision within National Anticorruption Centre. The Foundation does not influence the editorial policy of the Realitatea Press Group.