UK Court Seizes Moldovan ex-PM's Son's Fortune

A London judge has ordered the forfeiture of three frozen bank accounts belonging to the 22-year-old son of Moldova's former prime minister, Vlad Filat, who was jailed for corruption in 2016.

The bank accounts were frozen in May last year after an investigation by Britain's National Crime Agency ruled that the money derived from his father's illegal activities, a press release from the NCA on Thursday said.

Filat is serving a nine-year prison sentence after courts in Moldova convicted him in June 2016 of playing a role in the disappearance of 1 billion US dollars from the banking system. The missing money was equivalent to an eighth of the ex-Soviet republic's entire annual GDP.

Bank records showed Vlad Luca Filat's accounts and living expenses were funded by huge deposits from overseas companies, mainly based in Turkey and the Cayman Islands. 

Multiple cash deposits were also identified across the UK. He had spent over 100,000 euros in only three days.

The former Moldovan PM's son ostensibly moved to the UK in 2016 to study. But his lavish lifestyle stirred suspicions among financial investigators.

He had spent vast sums of money on luxury goods and services, including a Bentley limousine costing 200,000 pounds sterling, bought from a showroom in London's upscale Mayfair area.

He had also spent almost 400,000 pounds on renting a penthouse in London's equally exclusive Knightsbridge area - about 1,000 pounds a day.

The London court ordered the forfeiture of three frozen accounts on Tuesday.  

"Vlad Luca Filat was unable to demonstrate a legitimate source for the money and the court determined it to be recoverable," Rob MacArthur, from the NCA's International Corruption Unit, said.


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