The First Court Hearing in Constantin Țuțu’s Case Was Postponed

The First Court Hearing in Constantin Țuțu’s Case Was Postponed
23 July 2020 | 19:19

The first court hearing in Constantin Țuțu’s case, former deputy of the Democratic Party, was postponed. Țuțu’s lawyers claim that the hearing was postponed after they demanded the recusal of the judge, Ion Morozan, who was investigating the case. Requested by ZdG, Viorel Berliba, one of Țuțu’s lawyers, informed us that the magistrate’s request for recusal was submitted after Morozan himself informed the participants in the hearing that his son works in the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office.

Țuțu returned to Moldova on March 27, after the first case of coronavirus. Subsequently, he was placed in a 14-days quarantine. 

Previously, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office accused Ţuțu of influence peddling and illicit enrichment. In September, Țuțu was announced in the national and international searches, but he fled the country in June 2019.  

The first court hearing in Țuțu’s case had to take place at the Chișinău Court, on July 23, but it was postponed. Țuțu’s lawyers’ requested the recusal of the judge analyzing the case. 

“Today’s court hearing was postponed. During today’s court hearing, I was initially informed by the judge, even at the hearing, that his son is working in the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, he claims. Thus, the judge informed us that he was recused several times on this basis. Subsequently, the judge requested our position – if we do not have recusals against him. 

After a consultation between the team of lawyers and our client, we decided that it is a reason to recuse the judge, if he was recused before. These are some objective things that I was informed about in court by the judge. Thus, I decided that if such recusal requests were granted, it means that there are objective grounds for exposing ourselves to the impartiality of this judge and we have decided to file a request for recusal of the judge. Following this, we filed the recusal. The first court hearing was to take place today,” Viorel Berliba, one of the lawyers of the former Democratic Party deputy, told us.

On July 24, the Chișinău Court will examine the recusal of the judge requested by Țuțu’s lawyers. 

Judge Ion Morozan, appointed to examine Țuțu’s case, has been working in the judiciary for 15 years. Details here

On May 11, 2020, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office finalized and sent to court Țuțu’s criminal case charging him with influence peddling and large-scale fraud. 

On March 27, Țutu returned in Moldova and was placed in a 14 days quarantine. Previously, the prosecutors charged him with influence peddling and illicit enrichment. 

Țuțu was announced in international search after the authorities filed a request in September 2019. 

Also in September, the Chișinău Court issued an arrest warrant for 30 days in absentia on behalf of Constantin Ţuțu.

The former deputy is being investigated on the basis of Article 326 of the Moldovan Criminal Code –  influence peddling – and is accused of having asked for and taken 20,000 euros from the relatives of a man arrested in autumn 2017. 

Constantin Țuțu allegedly promised to influence the prosecutors and intervene to have the arrested man released. It is not yet clear why the case was only begun two years after the crimes have been committed.

On October 1, the former Interim Prosecutor General Dumitru Robu opened a criminal case against Țuțu for illicit enrichment committed by the former deputy between 2014 and 2018.

Ţuțu was a deputy in the Democratic Party faction from 2014-2018, under the party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc. The deputy left Moldova in June 2019, after the change of government.

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