Moldovan businessman sentenced for role in $1 bln bank fraud

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) - A court has sentenced a Moldovan businessman and former lawmaker to 18 years in prison for embezzlement and money laundering connected to a $1 billion bank fraud.

The court in the capital Chisinau on Thursday sentenced Veaceslav Platon and ordered him to pay the state 869 million lei ($45.2 million) in damages which he siphoned off from the Savings Bank, which subsequently went bankrupt.

In its ruling, the court also confiscated shares Platon held. The ruling is not final.

Platon denies wrongdoing and says the case against him is politically motivated. Platon, 44, was extradited from Ukraine in August.

The $1 billion, equal to one-eighth of the annual GDP of one of Europe's poorest countries, disappeared from Moldovan banks before the 2014 parliamentary elections.

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