US Treasury sanctions Israeli for helping Russia subvert Moldovan democracy

Ilan Shor was sanctioned for attempting to bring Moldova back to Russia's sphere of influence.

Moldova's national flag is seen in central Chisinau, Moldova (photo credit: GLEB GARANICH / REUTERS)
Moldova's national flag is seen in central Chisinau, Moldova
(photo credit: GLEB GARANICH / REUTERS)

A Moldovan-Israeli dual citizen was targeted by US sanctions on Wednesday for aiding Russian attempts to "subvert Moldovan democracy," the US Treasury announced.

Eight other individuals and 12 entities were added to sanction lists on Wednesday for having a part in Russia's malign influence campaigns and systemic corruption in Moldova.

The Israeli was named as Ilan Mironovich Shor and was targeted under Executive Order 14024 for "being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in interference in a United States or other foreign government election for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation."

According to the Treasury, Russia planned to undermine Moldovan president Maia Sandu in advance of the 2021 Moldovan elections in order to return Moldova to Russia's sphere of influence. Shor worked with Russians to create a political alliance to control the country's parliament and support legislation in the interests of the Russian Federation.

Shor also worked with Moscow-based entities to undermine Moldova's EU bid, according to the Treasury.

 Flags of Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria and Russia flutter in central Tiraspol, in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria May 5, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/Vladislav Bachev) Flags of Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria and Russia flutter in central Tiraspol, in Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria May 5, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/Vladislav Bachev)

Shor's wife, Russian pop star "Jasmin" (her real name is Sara Lvovna Shor), was also targeted by the sanctions for being Ilan's wife. Jasmin received a reward from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015.

Shor on the run for fraud and money laundering charges

Shor has been on the run since 2017 when he was convicted on fraud and money-laundering charges and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

In 2014, $1 billion was drained from three Moldovan banks and $20.8 billion in Russian money was laundered through the Moldovan bank Moldindconbank, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Moldovan authorities charged Shor for being involved in that case.

OCCRP found that Shor headed a group of 39 mostly shell companies that were involved in the theft and laundering schemes. A report by private investigators Kroll Associates UK also found that Shor played an "integral role" in the crimes. The Shor Party was also designated in the sanctions announced on Wednesday.

Shor runs a political party called the "Shor Party" in Moldova and is still an MP and organizes anti-government protests in the country, despite the prison sentence against him.

Media reports have linked Shor to anti-European Union and pro-Russian sentiments. Shor published a post on Instagram last week saying that he is not against the West and that his party includes both pro-Russia and pro-EU people.

In an article in Carnegie Politika, journalist Vladimir Solovyov reported that Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian Duma’s foreign affairs committee, invited Shor to discuss a roadmap for solving problems between Moldova and Russia.

Some reports have indicated that Shor fled to Israel after he was convicted.