Russian authorities suspect the son of Transdnestrian leader Igor Smirnov of involvement in a large-scale embezzlement scheme, a Russian police source said on Friday.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against top managers of the Transdnestr Republican Bank, including Oleg Smirnov and vice-chairman Oleg Brizitsky.
“Oleg Smirnov, suspected of embezzlement, is the son of the leader of the Transdnestr republic,” the source said.
Investigators say Smirnov, Brizitsky and other suspects conspired to siphon off 160 million rubles ($5.4 mln) between November 2008 and November 2009, provided by Russia to Transdnestr in humanitarian aid to be paid to pensioners and to support farmers.
Moldova’s breakaway republic of Transdnestr has maintained de facto independence from Chisinau since a brief war in 1992, which erupted after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Russia maintains a 1,500-troop contingent in Transdnestr, which officially guards stockpiles of Soviet-era weaponry due to be returned to Russia.