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Moldovan National Bank Chief Resigns

Dorin Dragutanu, the outgoing governor of the Moldovan National Bank. (file photo)

The governor of the Moldovan National Bank, Dorin Dragutanu, has announced his resignation after being criticized for failing to prevent the massive siphoning of money from local banks last year.

The disappearance of some $1 billion from three Moldovan banks in 2014 caused the severe depreciation of the currency, the suspension of Western financial aid, and ongoing mass street protests.

Dragutanu has rejected criticism blaming him for the lost funds and says he repeatedly alerted authorities about the risks that led to the money disappearing from the banks.

He said on September 21 that he is resigning due to "pressure" from "some politicians."

President Nicolae Timofti and Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet, whom tens of thousands of protesters have also called on to resign, have both said Dragutanu should be removed from his post.

Dragutanu's resignation comes one day before the start of critical negotiations between the Moldovan government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Moldova is seeking to conclude an IMF cooperation agreement that would unblock financial assistance from the EU and other Western donors.