How match-fixing ruined football in Moldova

Players, prosecutors, F.A. leaders and club officials reveal the unprecedented scale of match-fixing in Moldova. Josimar spoke to players who took part in the fixes and they tell a hallucinating story of how football corruption killed the beautiful game in Europe's poorest country.

By Emanuel Rosu and Dumitru Garcaliuc

In 2014, a cumulated 1 billion US dollars disappeared from Moldova's three largest banks. The investigation on what really happened is still ongoing and involves some of the most powerful oligarchs, bankers, and political figures in the country. It is believed that more than 40 people either benefited or facilitated the fraud. Former prime minister Vlad Filat was jailed, as well as other businessmen and public workers. Much of the money was transferred through the UK and Hong Kong registered companies with unknown owners, but there were traces in Cyprus, China and Switzerland too. Facts around the "theft of the century", as it is referred to in Moldova, are far from being clear seven years after the investigations started. Around 13 percent of the country’s GDP disappeared. The International Monetary Fund and the European Union stopped their aid, while the national currency, the leu, hit low records, with inflation growing to more than 10 percent.

With a GDP per capita of just 4 512 US dollars in 2020, Moldova leads the unwanted table of poverty in Europe. In comparison, Norway has the fourth-highest GDP per capita on the continent, with 69 989 US dollars. And football in Moldova is just another faithful image of the society it represents.


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