INVESTIGATION: Deputies with Criminal Cases in the New Parliament

INVESTIGATION: Deputies with Criminal Cases in the New Parliament
19 July 2021 | 15:17

According to the results of the elections held on the 11th of July, 63 of the future Parliament deputies represent the Action and Solidarity Party, 22 are representatives of the Socialist Party, 10 of the Communist Party, and six are from the Shor Party.

Action and Solidarity Party deputy dismissed in 2014 after a finding of the National Integrity Commission

In the list of the Action and Solidarity Party deputies, we identified three persons, who were or are involved, directly or indirectly, in criminal cases or acts of a finding of the National Integrity Commission.

Artemie Cătănoi, who became a deputy on the Action and Solidarity Party list, is a project coordinator at the Tighina Psychologists Association. In September 2013, the National Integrity Commission, the current National Integrity Authority, found that Artemie Cătănoi violated the legal regime of incompatibilities, being, at the same time, the head of the Public Administration Section within the Căușeni District Council and lawyer at the Assistance and Protection Center of Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings from the same locality. Although he challenged the National Integrity Commission to act in court, he failed to annul it. Based on the National Integrity Commission act, Cătănoi was dismissed from the position he held in September 2014. Subsequently, he also challenged the order of the district president by which he was dismissed, but the courts rejected his request, including the Supreme Court of Justice. Artemie Cătănoi became head of the Căușeni Territorial Office, proposed by the Leancă Government in 2014, shortly after he was dismissed from the Căușeni District Council. He was dismissed in January 2016 by the Filip Government. Cătănoi was previously a member of the Liberal Democratic Party.

“It was a political case”

Ion Babici is a project manager at the Dacia Youth Resource Center and the president of the Action and Solidarity Party in Soroca. In 2019, he ran on behalf of the Bloc ACUM (Action and Solidarity Party together with the Dignity and Truth Platform) for the position of mayor of Soroca. During the election campaign, the portal sinteza.org wrote that Babici is being prosecuted under Article 361 of the Criminal Code – Making, possessing, selling, or using official documents, printed matter, stamps, or false seals. The quoted source states that the criminal case was started on November 25, 2020, as a result of a request from October 20, last, of the Central Electoral Council of the Electoral District of Soroca District. Citizen Ivan Cecan accused Ion Babici of falsifying his signature on an application dated October 22, 2021, by which he would have asked to be excluded from the composition of the electoral bureau of the polling station in Slobozia-Vărăncău, where he was proposed by the Action and Solidarity Party.

Ion Babici stated for ZdG that such a case exists, but it has no status.

“It is the ordinance by which my suspicion status was revoked. The case continues, but I have no status. It was a political case. I was not the injured party in this case. The person who complained with the Central Electoral Council subsequently withdrew it. It is an extraordinary case. The criminal case goes on. They are looking for the person who forged a signature. I had to make statements, I was quoted… I had to sign the expertise. The expert made it clear that I did not sign. It was clearly a political issue. They accused us of falsifying a request to withdraw a commission representative from a village. That’s our right. I could eventually withdraw it by other methods. It was not necessary to falsify his request,” Babici states.

The criminal case in which the family of the deputy Popa is investigated

Zinaida Popa is a municipal councilor on the Action and Solidarity Party lists. The new deputy is the wife of Vasile Popa, appointed by Maia Sandu in December 2020 as Deputy Director of the State Protection and Guard Service. Recently, in the middle of the election campaign, it was found that Vasile Popa’s brother was detained by the National Anticorruption Center in a case aimed at fraudulently granting subsidies in agriculture. Adrian Popa, head of the Payments Authorization Department of the Intervention and Payments for Agriculture Agency, is accused of having contributed to companies affiliated to the Popa family receiving, between 2016 and 2020, state subsidies of about 200,000 euros. Among the beneficiaries would have been the Farm Popa Zinaida Alexandr, led by Zinaida Popa. However, the Popa family denied that they had participated in illegalities and specified for the press that the subsidies were obtained legally.

The Exclusive Media case and the integrity of three Socialist Party deputies

In the list of the Socialist Party – Communist Party deputies we discovered the names of at least six deputies who are investigated in criminal cases or acts of the National Integrity Authority. The criminal case in which the Exclusiv Media company, which manages the social empire of the Socialists, is being investigated for money laundering and illegal financing of the Socialist Party hits directly at the integrity of at least three candidates of the Communist and Socialist Electoral Bloc. At Exclusiv Media, the financial director is Igor Dodon’s wife, Galina Dodon. The company is founded by Corneliu Furculiță, who became the 13th deputy on the list of the Electoral Bloc, and during the period when the alleged money laundering was committed, the administrator was Petru Burduja, who reached the Parliament being on 24th place in the list of Electoral Bloc candidates. The criminal case has no finality, although the investigation continued for almost five years.

Three Socialist Party deputies in the documents of the National Integrity Authority

Three other deputies from the Bloc of Communists and Socialists list have integrity problems found by the National Integrity Authority. The inspectors established a difference of 212,000 euros between the acquired wealth in the period 2014 – 2016 by the candidate Radu Mudreac. As a result, Mudreac was reported to the General Prosecutor’s Office for illicit enrichment and money laundering.

The National Integrity Authority issued, on Wednesday, July 7, an act on the socialist deputy Alla Dolința, for violating the legal regime of incompatibilities. The integrity inspector found that the socialist held, together with the position of deputy and the position of president of the Solution Foundation, founded by her party leader, Igor Dodon.

In the case of Grigore Novac, another deputy from the Bloc’s list, the inspectors found an obvious difference between wealth and income, of 5,000 euros, and an unjustified difference of 17,000 euros in the period 2015-2018, money he donated to the Socialist Party. Grigore Novac challenged in court the finding issued by the National Integrity Authority. So far, five court hearings have been scheduled on the case. Novac was also investigated in a criminal case, after, in 2011, when he was a lawyer at the Solution Foundation, he acquired, free of charge, together with 300 other families, public lands in Stăuceni commune, the municipality Chișinău. However, the criminal case initiated to verify the circumstances of the land allocation has no finality.

Deputies of the billion-dollar bank fraud. Three of the six deputies of the Shor Party have criminal records

At least three of the six deputies of the Shor Party are listed in criminal cases. Ilan Shor, the president of the Party that bears his name, managed to obtain a new mandate as a deputy, although he is wanted internationally, after leaving Moldova, in June 2019. Subsequently, Shor was left without parliamentary immunity, on his name being opened a criminal case for illegal crossing the state border, a case connected with the billion-dollar bank fraud case. Shor has been sentenced, since 2017, to seven and a half years in prison for fraud and money laundering, but the court ordered that the sentence come into force only after it becomes final. This case has been under examination for three and a half years at the Cahul Court of Appeal.

Two other deputies from the Shor Party list appear in criminal cases. Denis Ulanov is under criminal investigation for fraud and money laundering in the same case of bank fraud, and Petru Jardan is being tried for abuse of office in particularly large proportions in the interest of an organized group and to the detriment of the interests of the State Enterprise Airport Chisinau International. The names of two other deputies from the Shor Party list also appeared in criminal cases: Marina Tauber and Reghina Apostolova. Both deputies were initially left without immunity, but later the criminal cases opened on their behalf were closed.

The legislation does not prohibit people who have been tried or have criminal records from entering Parliament

The legislation of Moldova does not prohibit persons under investigation or criminal proceedings to run for deputy. Access to the Parliament is restricted only to persons who are definitively sentenced to prison or have a criminal record for intentional crimes. The ZdG analysis was based on the information we managed to obtain from open sources. In recent months, before the start of the election campaign, ZdG has tried to obtain more information about possible criminal cases involving the people who lead the most important political parties that entered the July 11 election competition. All state institutions referred us for answers to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which refused to provide us with this information, referring to the fact that it would represent personal data.

AUTHOR MAIL

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