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Fugitive Moldovan businessmen returns to Israeli base -Interpol

CHISINAU (Reuters) - Fugitive pro-Russian Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor, accused of "buying" voters to sway an election in the ex-Soviet state, has returned to his exile base in Israel, an Interpol official said on Sunday.

Viorel Tentiu, head of Interpol's office in Moldova, said Shor had returned to Israel by air last Wednesday, but Israeli officials were unable to say where he had been or where his flight had originated.

"All we have is confirmation that he landed at Ben Gurion airport, but it is unknown where he went or where he returned from," Tentiu told state Moldova-1 television.

Tentiu had earlier said that Shor left Israel on Nov. 6.

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Shor could not be reached for comment.

He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison by a Moldovan court in April over a $1 billion bank fraud and has for months organised street protests from Israel to demand the resignation of pro-European President Maia Sandu's government.

The Constitutional Court outlawed his party and authorities barred his allies from running in last week's local elections for a different party.

Moldovan officials accused Shor of channelling the equivalent of 50 million euros ($53.5 million) into Moldova for "buying" voters.

Tentiu said all Interpol member-states had been asked to report if he was on their territory.

Sandu has denounced Russia's invasion of Ukraine and accused Moscow of plotting to remove her as she campaigns to secure European Union membership for Moldova, one of Europe's poorest countries lying between Ukraine and Romania.

Russia dismisses Sandu's allegations and accuses her of waging an anti-Russian campaign and infusing an anti-Russian atmosphere in Moldova.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas, Editing by Ron Popeski and Grant McCool)