Eurojust assists in uncovering a high-level corruption scheme

07 June 2024|PRESS RELEASE

Flags of France, Moldova and UK, logo Eurojust33 searches were conducted and four people were detained in Moldova following a joint action by authorities in France and Moldova after investigations have uncovered a multi-million euro bribery scheme to help fugitives evade international justice. On 5 June a high-level official was arrested in Moldova.

It is believed that with their bribes, the fugitives with a Red Notice attempted to obtain asylum or refugee seeker status in Moldova or other countries in an effort to delete or block a Red Notice. Moreover, the suspects sought information about their INTERPOL Red Notice to try and avoid detection. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies worldwide to locate an individual for extradition, surrender or other legal action.

bribe: hands shaking, money exchanged

Effective and quick international cooperation was key to putting a stop to the corruption scheme. INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization based in France, alerted the French authorities about the possible corruption scheme and the bribes taking place in Moldova. Eurojust’s support was instrumental in ensuring that French and Moldovan authorities were able to work together rapidly.

A joint investigation team was set up at Eurojust between French and Moldovan authorities during a coordination meeting at the Agency. This enabled the authorities to exchange information and evidence, determine the judicial strategy and carry out joint operations. Authorities from the United Kingdom supported the operation by providing important information on the suspects after linking the operation to a separate investigation into an international cybercrime network.

On 4 June, an action day took place in Moldova, during wich search warrants were executed for 12 persons in 33 locations. Mobile phones, laptops, computers and other items and documents were seized during the operation, which received grants from Eurojust’s funding programme for joint investigation teams. Four people were detained for up to 72 hours. On 5 June, a high-level official was arrested for 30 days at the request of the Moldovan prosecutor.

The operation was carried out by the following authorities:

  • France: National Financial Prosecutor’s Office; OCLCIFF (Central Anti-Corruption Office within the French National Police)
  • Moldova: Anti-corruption Prosecution Office
  • United Kingdom: National Crime Agency