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New Transdniester Head Says Hard Currency Reserves Missing

Transdniester's new leader Yevgeny Shevchuk
TIRASPOL, Moldova -- Yevgeny Shevchuk, the newly-elected leader of the breakaway Moldovan territory of Transdniester, has told a meeting of the separatist Supreme Council that almost all of Transdniester's currency reserves disappeared under the administration of his predecessor, Igor Smirnov.

Shevchuk said on February 1 that before his inauguration as leader, it was learned that 90 percent of the region's hard-currency reserves had been "transferred to other accounts."

Shevchuk did not say who controls those accounts or how much money is involved.

The Supreme Council has endorsed Eduard Kosovsky as the new head of the Transdniester Central Bank, replacing Oksana Ionova.

Shevchuk said Ionova resigned when the reserves were found to be missing.

Shevchuk won a hard-fought election last year against a Kremlin-backed candidate by promising to combat corruption.

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