INVESTIGATION: The New Head of the General Inspectorate of Police: Wealth, Criminal Case, and Lawsuits with the General Inspectorate of Police and the Ministry of Justice
Iurie Podarilov, the new head of the General Police Inspectorate, is suing the institution he leads, demanding the calculation and payment of bonuses and salary rights, granted in addition to the basic salary. The request refers to the period in which he was suspended from the position of deputy head of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, being investigated in a criminal case for taking bribes, sentenced to prison, then acquitted. Podarilov is also suing the Ministry of Justice for violating several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and applying the recovery mechanisms provided by the High Court.
Because there is a potential conflict of interest, the National Integrity Authority will have to identify solutions, including by attracting a third party who will represent the new head of the General Inspectorate of Police in court.
Iurie Podarilov has been active in the police since 1996, and since 2013 he has held the position of Deputy Head of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, an institution within the National Investigation Inspectorate of the General Inspectorate of Police. During his office, Podarilov was charged with bribery.
Caught with a bribe of 10,000 euros and sentenced to 4 years in prison
Podarilov was detained on February 24, 2017, based on a complaint, and by a sentence handed down on January 25, 2018, Magistrate Nicolae Costin of the Chisinau Court, Center headquarters, who in the meantime left the system, noted that Iurie Podarilov, „During 2016-2017, together with a criminal investigation officer from the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, contrary to the obligations and prohibitions imposed by the position held, under the pretext of mediating the removal from criminal prosecution of a suspect in trafficking children, claimed the amount of 30,000 euros, being withheld after receiving the funds from the first installment, in the amount of 10,000 euros.” Thus, the court sentenced him to 4 years in prison, with the execution of the sentence in a semi-closed penitentiary, with deprivation of the right to hold positions in the law enforcement bodies of Moldova for a period of 5 years.
The sentence of the first instance was appealed to the Chișinău Court of Appeal, which by a decision pronounced on March 22, 2018, ordered the partial quashing of the sentence of the Chișinău Court, Center headquarters, and the pronouncement of a new decision. Specifically, a panel of judges, consisting of Liubovi Brînza and Galina Moscalciuc, as judges, and Ludmila Ouș, as president, found that the rights regarding the conditions of detention had been violated. The sentence imposed on Podarilov had been reduced with 8 months with the deprivation of the right to hold positions in the legal bodies of Moldova, for a term of 2 years. Thus, he was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison, in a semi-closed penitentiary. Also by that decision, the execution of the sentence was conditionally suspended for a probationary period of 3 years.
Conflicting statements by the whistleblower and hostile relations with the head of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases
Podarilov appealed against the decision of the appellate court, claiming that, during the criminal investigation, the complainant had not been assisted by an interpreter and that the whistleblower had stated in the minutes that the money had been received in the amount of 10,000 euros, however, he later signed that it was 15,000 euros. He also stated that the court of the first instance did not take into account several procedural errors admitted in the criminal investigation. Podarilov also claimed that he was in hostile relations with the leadership of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases, the institution handling the case and that Tatiana Timofti-Rusanovscaia, the case prosecutor, should refrain from the examination. Podarilov told ZdG that, at that time, he was in conflict with Nicolae Chitoroaga, former head of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases. Specifically, the two had conflicting opinions on the jurisdiction and prosecution of cases, Podarilov being of the opinion that cases related to human trafficking should be investigated by specialized prosecutors.
Acquitted after the Supreme Court of Justice sends the case for retrial to the Chișinau District Court
On November 13, 2018, the Supreme Court of Justice decided to overturn the decision of the Chișinău City Council and ordered the retrial of the case by the same appellate court, in another panel. “Investigating the materials of the criminal case, the Criminal College concludes that the guilt of the defendant Iurie Podarilov has not been confirmed by relevant and conclusive evidence, and the conviction cannot be based on assumptions, the doubts in proving the accusation will be interpreted in favor of the defendant,” stated the panel of the Supreme Court. Podarilov was acquitted by Chișinău Court of Appeal, on September 30, 2019, by a panel of judges, consisting of Alexandru Spoială and Stelian Teleucă, as judges and Ion Pleșca, president. Tatiana Timofti-Rusanovscaia, the case prosecutor, declared an appeal against the decision by which Podarilov was acquitted, but on June 17, the Supreme Court of Justice declared the appeal inadmissible.
The new head of the General Inspectorate of Police, Podorilov, sued the institution he leads for salary rights
After being acquitted by the Chișinău Court of Appeal, Podorilov tried, through a petition addressed to the General Inspectorate of Police, to return to work, requesting, at the same time, the calculation and payment of bonuses and salary rights granted in addition to the basic salary for the period in which he was absent. By an administrative decision, on December 17, 2019, the General Inspectorate of Police restored him to office, but he was immediately retired. Unsatisfied with the institution’s response to salary rights, he sued the General Inspectorate of Police.
By a decision pronounced on October 9, 2020, Judge Violeta Chisilița from the Chișinău Court, Râșcani headquarters, obliged the General Inspectorate of Police to issue Podarilov the certificate confirming the monthly salary of 750 euros, to recalculate the amount and pay him the difference money for unused annual rest leave and the one-off allowance.
The case reached Chișinău Court of Appeal, and here, on February 23, 2021, the decision of the first instance was quashed and a new decision was issued, by which the request for summons filed by Iurie Podarilov was rejected as unfounded. The decision was made by judges Grigore Dașchevici and Veronica Negru. Angela Bostan, president of the panel of judges, had a separate opinion on this case. She considers that “the evidence attached to the case material certainly confirms that the General Inspectorate of Police refused to calculate and pay Iurie Podarilor the salary rights granted in addition to the basic salary”.
In June, the case reached the table of judges from the Supreme Court of Justice. On September 8, the very day the Government approved the appointment of Iuri Podarilov as head of the General Inspectorate of Police, the judges were to examine the appeal, but the hearing was postponed to November 3.
National Integrity Authority, notified to find solutions in resolving the conflict of interests
The new head of the General Inspectorate of Police claims that, in order to rule out any interpretation of a potential conflict of interest, he referred to the National Integrity Authority, which will have to identify solutions, including by attracting a third party to represent him in court.
“The General Inspectorate of Police partially satisfied my request. The violations allowed when issuing suspension and then dismissal orders were resolved. The retirement decision was made by the employer, without me being notified. With my appointment as head of the General Inspectorate of Police, I notified that there is a potential conflict of interest and I notified National Integrity Authority. I requested that this institution examine the situation in accordance with the legal provisions. We have taken this step to rule out any possible interpretation that there is a conflict that cannot be resolved. The legislation provides for possibilities for resolution and the Integrity Authority is to give its opinion. There are several solutions, including choosing a third party who will represent me in that situation. An important aspect is that the appeal is examined in the absence of the parties and, in this case, there is practically no conflict of interest,” Iurie Podarilov told ZdG.
Podarilov is also suing the Ministry of Justice
Iurie Podarilov is also suing the Ministry of Justice to find the right to liberty and non-pecuniary damage. Specifically, he claims all the rights that, in his opinion, were violated from his detention on February 24, 2017, until his final payment. The first meeting on this case was scheduled for November 24.
“I have demanded the claim of all rights which, in my opinion, have been violated and I have applied the application, in strict accordance, with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights for every violation of my rights. I claimed the patrimonial rights, for my detention for 13 months in Penitentiary no. 13 in inhuman conditions, considered as torture, according to art. 3 of the Convention. I requested that the national court find a violation of the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, respect for private and family life, freedom of expression, and violation of the right to remedy. My requests are formulated in such a way that the persons who are guilty of falsifying the evidence, the interpretation of the materials of the criminal case are held accountable, including the right of recourse to recover the sums of money from these persons and not from the state budget,” commented Iuri Podarilov.
Modest wealth and residence visa at the Râșcani Police Inspectorate
The most recent declaration of wealth and personal interests, submitted by Podarilov, is for 2015. Then, the new head of the General Inspectorate of Police declares that he owns an apartment of 58.3 square meters located in the commune of Grătiești, bought in 2014 for 16,000 euros, and a garage, acquired in 2012. At the same time, he indicated that since 2012 he has been driving a Volkswagen Passat, manufactured in 2006. ZdG found that the Podarilov family still lives in the apartment purchased in 2014, owns the Volkswagen Passat and another Toyota Auris since 2008, procured in 2020. However, the new head of the General Inspectorate of Police has a residence visa, addressed to the Râșcani Police Inspectorate of the Chișinău Police Directorate, where he started his activity as a lower investigator since at the beginning of the 2000s the legislation offered the employees of the police stations this possibility.
For several years, Podarilov’s wife, Olga, worked in the Esculap-Farm company, together with Lilian Carabeț, the interim deputy head of the General Inspectorate of Police about whom ZdG recently wrote that he lives in an imposing house, located in a select area of Dumbrava, Chișinău, which he claims he bought for 45 thousand euros. Esculap-Farm owns the pharmacy chain Apoteka and was founded by Oleg Sîli. The company has obtained dozens of contracts with the state in recent years. In 2019, Esculap-Farm came to the attention of prosecutors, after signing a contract of 1.35 million euros with the state for the delivery of insulin analogs within the National Program for the prevention and control of diabetes for that year.
Collaboration with the Minister of Interior Ana Revenco and the donation made to the Action and Solidarity Party
Iurie Podarilov was appointed head of the General Inspectorate of Police for a five-year term, at the suggestion of Ana Revenco, the interior minister, his former superior while both worked at the Center for Combating Human Trafficking. The two also worked together at the La Strada International Center. However, Podarilov claims that Minister Revenco is not related to him and there are no affinity relations between them.
In the early parliamentary elections of July 11, Podarilov donated 500 euros to the Action and Solidarity Party, a donation that he says he made for “objective reasons”.
“The amount donated corresponds to my income, because at that time I provided services to several companies, being officially employed as a lawyer. I am not a member of the party and I have never been a member of any party. We worked in a private company, where, together with the team, we decided to support the future of Moldova for the objective reasons we have,” said the new head of the General Inspectorate of Police.
The appointment of Iurie Podarilov as head of the General Inspectorate of Police was made after the position became vacant on August 12, with the departure of Sergiu Paiu.