A court in Britain has ordered the son of former Moldovan Prime Minister Vladimir Filat to hand over nearly half a million pounds following an investigation by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA).
Vlad Luca Filat, 22, was hit with three forfeiture orders for money held in three bank accounts after investigators determined that the wealth of Vlad Luca Filat, 22, came from “the illegal activity of his father,” said the British National Crime Agency (NCA) in a statement on Thursday.
Vladimir Filat who served as prime minister between 2009 to 2013 is currently in prison in Moldova after being sentenced in June 2016 to nine years in prison for corruption and abuse of power. He was accused of embezzling $260 million as part of the “theft of the century”, in which $1bn was stolen from three Moldovan banks and laundered through Latvia’s financial system
His son, who had moved to London in July 2016 to study, attracted the attention of investigators with his “extravagant” expenses, including paying nearly £400,000 up front for a Knightsbridge apartment and the purchase of a £200,000 Bentley, despite having no known revenues in the UK, explained the NCA.
The three bank accounts were frozen in May 2018 in accordance with the new provisions relating to the Criminal Finance Act 2017, a law designed to combat money laundering.
A London court on Tuesday ordered the frozen money to be confiscated.
Judge Michael Snow was “satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the cash was derived from his father’s criminal conduct in Moldova”.
“Where we suspect money in an account is the proceeds of crime, we can apply to the court to freeze and then forfeit the sums” said Rob MacArthur from the NCA’s international corruption unit.
“In this case, Vlad Luca Filat was unable to demonstrate a legitimate source for the money and the court determined it to be recoverable.”
Last year the NCA was granted an Unexplained Wealth Order against a different Knightsbridge property belonging to Zamira Hajiyeva, who spent £16m at Harrods over a decade. Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, had previously been convicted of defrauding £2.2bn from Azerbaijan’s national bank.