CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Dozens of people lined up Friday outside three banks in Moldova that are scheduled to be closed after the disappearance of up to $1.5 billion last year.
The governor of the Moldovan central bank, Dorin Dragutanu, said Thursday the state-owned Savings Bank, the Social Bank and Unibank, which have a combined 2 million accounts, will be liquidated by October. Customer accounts will be moved to other banks.
Up to $1.5 billion disappeared from the banks' finances before general elections in November. An unpublished parliamentary report said some of the money was transferred to Russian banks.
The Social Bank and Unibank are funded by both Moldovan and Russian investors.
Dragutanu sought to reassure Moldovans that their money was safe, yet dozens lined up at the banks Friday. More than 3,000 people are expected to lose their jobs.
The central bank on Friday banned the banks from opening any new current or savings accounts, effective immediately.
Many retirees get their pensions from the Savings Bank. Those will be moved to the Moldovan post office.
The central bank said that the decision to close the banks was in line with demands from the International Monetary Fund.