Moldova's top banker quits over missing $1.5 billion

AP News
Posted: Sep 21, 2015 11:25 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova's central bank governor resigned Monday, following weeks of street protests over $1.5 billion that disappeared from three Moldovan banks.

Dorin Dragutanu, governor of the National Bank of Moldova stepped down and accused politicians of interfering in the bank's internal affairs.

He said if politicians continued to put pressure on him "I will say the truth, especially as my hands are free now."

Dragutanu claimed politicians had tried to discredit the central bank. Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet responded, saying Dragutanu did not like politicians asking legitimate questions about the bank.

Tens of thousands of protesters began a protest in a pedestrian square in Chisinau on Sept. 6, and erected tents, calling for a probe into the money which disappeared before a parliamentary election last November. About 200 continue to protest.

A state-owned bank and two banks owned by Moldovan and Russian investors were put under the administration of the central bank and will be liquidated by October. Losses were covered by state reserves.

Some of the money was transferred to Russian banks, according to an internal parliamentary inquiry.