bne IntelliNews – Moldova’s Attorney General arrested on four corruption charges
Moldovan Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo was detained for 72 hours and his home and general prosecutor’s office were raided by the intelligence services, SIS, on October 5, after prosecutor Victor Furtuna from the anti-corruption prosecution opened investigations into four corruption charges.
The investigation was opened following a notification filed by MP Lilian Carp of the ruling Action and Solidarity Party (PAS). Since coming to power in Moldova, President Maia Sandu and her PAS have sought to remove Stoianoglo from her post as part of their cleansing of the justice system.
The announcement was made by Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco, according to Deschide.md. The most serious of the four corruption crimes concerns the approval to drop the charges against controversial businessman Veaceslav Plato in the case known as the billion dollar bank robbery, and the alleged financial advantages granted by Plato to Stoianoglo and his wife through companies registered in Ukraine.
Stoianoglo was arrested at 6 p.m. local time, just before a press conference he announced following the start of the investigations.
His wife, who was allegedly involved in one of the corruption crimes, was also arrested.
The High Council of Prosecutors met on the morning of the same day to consider a single subject: the notification concerning Stoianoglo, presented by Carp. Stoianoglo showed up at the meeting to defend himself and submit a request regarding the notification, but he was not allowed in.
Stoianoglo and his deputies were suspended from their duties following the start of the investigations opened by the anti-corruption prosecutor.
Notably, the day before his detention, Stoianoglo held a press conference announcing that he was in possession of evidence demonstrating that the former head of the anti-corruption prosecution Viorel Morari actively cooperated, including by exchanging classified information, with members. PAS active in the judicial system, NGOs active in the field of justice and ambassadors including the head of the European Union delegation Peter Michalko. The cooperation was directed against him, he said. Evidence obtained from Morari’s phone has been submitted to prosecutors for investigation, Stoianoglo said.
On October 5, the EU delegation to Moldova announced that it had taken note of the Stoianoglo press conference and its statement on Michalko.
âThe EU categorically rejects any accusation of political interference in internal processes or legal proceedings in Moldova. In our dialogue with the Moldovan authorities, we have always stressed that the reform of the justice sector, the fight against corruption and the depoliticization of state institutions are crucial for the implementation of our ambitious Association Agreement, and we have been following developments in these key areas closely, âthe delegation said in a statement.
Unimedia.info has detailed the four crimes that Stoianoglo is accused of having committed.
He is accused of having approved severance packages in favor of chief prosecutor Nicolae Chitoroaga, while the prosecutor is under investigation for corruption at the time of his resignation.
Second, while he was an MP in 2011, Stoianoglo is accused of having introduced a provision in the anti-money laundering law which then allowed Plato to launder money through his banks.
Third, and probably most important, Stoianoglo is blamed for his prosecutors dropping the charges against Plato. Plato was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2017, on the grounds that several companies he owned had siphoned off around 800 million MDL (around 70 to 80 million euros at the time) from the Banca de Economii a Moldovei ( BEM).
The sentence came in April 2017, at a time when the judiciary was under the control of the now fugitive businessman and politician Vlad Plahotniuc – Plato’s main rival.
When the case was retried in March 2021, the prosecution dropped all charges against Plato, saying the whole case was fabricated and that the companies involved in the frauds were actually owned by Plahotniuc and his accomplice Ilan Shor. At the same time, Stoianoglo prosecutors have relaunched investigations against Plahotniuc and Shor related to the same case.
Finally, Stoianoglo is accused of indirectly receiving benefits from Plato through companies registered in Ukraine. Such allegations surfaced in March 2021, when he dismissed any involvement and said that investigations by Ukrainian prosecutors had already established that “unidentified perpetrators” had attempted to falsify data, in a way that created criminal law. evidence incriminating Stoianoglo’s wife, Tvetana Kurdova, as the owner of certain businesses before. belonging to Plato. Stoianoglo named Plahotniuc and Shor as responsible.