Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ex-agent: Romania's spies launder money in Moldova

An agent for 15 years of the Romanian intelligence service says that the country's spies use Moldova for money laundering. Mihai Contiu says that they misinform about the true situation in order to obtain more funds which are then divided with their sources. Information from Romanian collaborators portrays Transnistria (PMR) in a way that is not consistent with reality or with the available evidence.

CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - The Romanian intelligence services working in Moldova misinform the Romanian leadership about the true situation in Moldova, says Moldova Suverana journalist Mihai Contiu, a former undercover agent for Romania. They do so in order to launder money for sponsoring of specific Moldovan politicians and journalists, says Contiu, who published in the newspaper an open letter to the President and the Prime Minister of Romania alleging that he has received such information, working within last 15 years as an agent of the Romanian intelligence services in Moldova. Agents working for the Romanian Serviciul Român de Informaţii (S.R.I.) routinely portray Transnistria (Pridnestrovie) as a "black hole" which is involved in smuggling and is a danger to the security of the Black Sea region of Europe. By exaggerating a threat and inventing reports for which there is no evidence, they are able to increase their budgets which are then split between the agents and anti-Transnistrian journalists in Moldova who help fabricate the information. In his open appeal to the Roman

ian President and Prime Minister, Contiu asks for protection and claims to submit documentary evidence to prove his statements.

" - In reality, the money is shared between between officers of the Romanian security services who work under diplomatic cover, and the Moldovan recipients among whom are a number of mass media, political and public figures, and representatives of creative intelligence," informs the journalist.

EU passports as payment

But money is not the only incentive shared between intelligence agents and the sources who help them create reports that have no factual basis in reality. Romania's new European Union passports are also used as payment, in a move which grants instant Romanian citizenship to selected Moldovan individuals.

According to Contiu, he "has proofs of participation of the Romanian embassy in Chisinau in the transactions connected with delivery of the Romanian passports."

Romanian passports are attractive for Moldovans who are ethnically and linguistically undistinguishable from Romanians. Until 1940, Moldova was part of Romania with the border reaching the Dniester River. Transnistria (Pridnestrovie), on the other side of the Dniester, was never part of Romania at any time in history.

In his article Contiu listed the names of specific Moldovan politicians, journalists and writers who have been sharing Romanian payments with Romania's intelligence officers in return for exaggerated or misleading information. The names include some of Moldova's most hardline, radical anti-Transnistrian writers.

The latest Moldovan/Romanian «espionage scandal» comes just one week after Moldova's President Vladimir Voronin accused Romania of intervention in the internal affairs of the country through overt and covert financing of a number of Moldovan political parties as well as leading mass media outlets in Chisinau, the country's capital.

In an interview with Bucharest newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, the President of Moldova said that Romania "conducts a campaign of pressing its influence on Moldovan citizens, including students and youth. Besides, Romania distributes its influence through paid people supported by Romanian press outlets."

In addition to news outlets funded by Romania, other media organizations in Moldova also receive financing from the OSCE, Germany, and the United States of America. No such funding is supplied to any Transnistria-based news organization. (With information from Axis, New Region, Evenimentul Zilei

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