IMF approves $180M loan to Moldova ahead of key election

CHISINAU, Moldova – The International Monetary Fund has approved aid worth almost $180 million to Moldova ahead of a presidential runoff election that could see the impoverished former Soviet republic move closer to Europe or tilt toward Russia.

The IMF’s Executive Board in Washington approved the 3-year, $178.7 million loan Monday to support the country’s financial and economic reforms. The board said $36 million would be made available immediately.

The IMF and the European Union froze aid to Moldova after $1 billion went missing from three Moldovan banks in 2014, plunging the country into turmoil.

The fund noted that Moldova had strengthened its banking sector and improved its regulatory framework during the last two years. It urged more reforms in the central bank and the judicial system.