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08CHISINAU508 2008-05-13 08:01:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Chisinau
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1. (SBU) The Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), established by
the U.S. Congress, is well and favorably known to the Embassy.
FinComBank, a leading universal bank, has 14 branches and 35
offices in Moldova, and over 74,000 clients. WNISEF acquired 25
percent of FinComBank in late 2007. In terms of assets, FinComBank
is the eighth largest commercial bank in Moldova. The Moldovan
banking sector continues to develop, attracting much-needed foreign
investment. The National Bank's legal framework for banking
supervision was revised and improved in 2007.

2. (SBU) FinComBank has signed lending agreements with the World
Bank Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Credit Line, the USAID
Program of Micro-enterprise and Small Business Development, the
International Finance Corporation and the European Fund for
Southeast Europe (EFSE). As part of the USAID program, FinComBank
obtained a loan portfolio guarantee of USD 4 million, which expires
in 2010. According to USAID's local office, the bank has been very
successful in providing loans under the program and has the highest
utilization rate. In November 2007, the bank received a USD 5
million micro- and small-enterprise loan from the EFSE.

3. (SBU) Post has no specific credible derogatory information
regarding FinComBank's operations or its shareholders. We have met
with Victor Khvorostovsky, Director of the Managing Board, but have
not met Chairman of the Board of Directors Oleg Voronin. Rumors
abound in the capital city of Chisinau about Oleg Voronin (the son
of current Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin), the means by which
he obtained his fortune, and his business practices.

4. (SBU) Oleg Voronin is believed to be one of the wealthiest men in
Moldova, owning or controlling various economic interests.
Political influence is thought to have played a role in the
Government of Moldova's decision to do some of its banking with
FinComBank. Allegations of corruption are unsubstantiated, and some
accusations could be dismissed as politically motivated. Because of
his father and ties to the Moldovan Government, Oleg Voronin is a
"politically exposed person." National elections are scheduled for
2009, and support for the ruling Communist Party of Moldova has been
declining since local elections in 2007. If elected, opposition
forces would have a less-than-favorable attitude towards the former
ruling party and its associates.

5. (SBU) Embassy POC is Economic Officer Ernest Abisellan,
telephone: (373) 22-40-8482 and e-mail: