In 2021, law enforcement agencies opened several criminal cases of corruption involving high-ranking officials. However, there are no convicted persons in these cases yet, most of the criminal cases being at the stage of criminal prosecution. ZdG offers you a retrospective of the resonance cases opened in 2021 and updated information about the stage they are at.
The criminal case started on behalf of the praetor of the Ciocana sector – closed
The judge of the Ciocana sector, Chișinău municipality, Sinilga Școlnic, detained in March for corruption, was removed from criminal prosecution in September, on the grounds that “the deed does not meet the elements of the crime.” Școlnic, along with two police officers from the Ciocana Police Inspectorate, was accused of organizing a money-laundering scheme from those who carry out the entrepreneurial activity within their area of competence.
The case of fictitious employment at the General Inspectorate of Police, examined by the court
The case of the fictitious employments within the General Inspectorate of Police, in which Dorin Damir, the godson of the former leader of Democratic Party Vladimir Plahotniuc, the former head of the Special Operations Directorate no. 5 of the Ministry of Interior, Valeriu Cojocaru, the suspended head of the Bălți Police Inspectorate, and Alexandru Pânzari, former head of the General Inspectorate of Police, is being examined in court for abuse of office, embezzlement of state property, illegal crossing of the border state, disclosure of state secrets, and forgery in public documents.
The case in which the former head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Adriana Bețișor, is suspected of committing passive corruption in particularly large proportions – in court
On April 22, the General Prosecutor’s Office announced that the former interim head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Adriana Bețișor, had been interrogated, being suspected of committing passive corruption in large proportions. In 2018, Bețișor allegedly demanded 50,000 euros from a convicted person in exchange for the withdrawal of her accusations in the case then pending at the Chișinău Court of Appeal.
On September 2, the General Prosecutor’s Office stated that the former head of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Adriana Bețișor, had been sent to trial on three charges – particularly large-scale passive corruption, abuse of office, and interference in the administration of justice. Bețișor is being investigated at large. The case is being examined by the Chișinău Court, so far five court hearings have been scheduled, most of them being postponed. The next meeting will be held on December 21, 2021.
The criminal case regarding the suspended Prosecutor General, Alexandr Stoianoglo
The suspended Prosecutor General, Alexandr Stoianoglo, was detained on October 5, and on October 8 he was placed under house arrest, the term being extended several times. Stoianoglo is charged with abuse of office, passive corruption, false statements, abuse of office, and exceeding official duties. The criminal prosecution on the charge of exceeding his duties was recently sent to court.
Former Public Service Agency director Sergei Railean – under house arrest
Serghei Railean, the former director of the Public Service Agency, was placed under house arrest on November 19, after being detained on November 17 for abuse and exceeding official duties. He is accused of facilitating the issuance of false identity documents in the name of several people in the entourage of the former leader of the Democratic Party, Vladimir Plahotniuc, while clearly violating established procedures, including in the absence of applicants for these documents.
Judge caught red-handed with bribery, investigated at large
On March 22, Maria Tertea, a magistrate at the Chișinău Court, Ciocana headquarters, was caught red-handed with bribery. A few weeks later, a new criminal case was launched on the judge’s name for influence peddling. In the first case, Tertea is accused of receiving 11,000 dollars from the sum of 16,000 dollars from a company director in order to adopt a favorable decision in a civil litigation. In the second case of influence peddling, the magistrate is investigated for allegedly extorting from the head of a company one thousand dollars to intervene in the adoption of a decision in a criminal trial, which would benefit the interests of that person. On May 31, the criminal case was sent to the Chișinău Court, Buiucani headquarters, for examination.
Vasile Șoldan, Deputy Director of the Poșta Moldovei State Enterpris, was detained on November 17 in a case in which he is suspected of abuse of office. He is being investigated because, in May-June 2021, decision-makers from Poșta Moldovei, having a prior agreement with two companies, allegedly concluded several fictitious contracts for the provision of IT services, even if Poșta Moldovei already benefited from the same services, under a contract with another company in the field. In order to avoid the public auction, they would have completed the contracts as low-value purchases, their total amount being 11,000 euros. Șoldan was released on the day he was detained by the prosecutor, and the criminal case is at the criminal investigation stage.
Several cases started for illicit enrichment
In the last months of 2021, no less than eight criminal cases have been initiated for the illicit enrichment of high-ranking officials.
Ruslan Popov, the General Prosecutor’s Office suspended deputy, was detained on October 9 in a case for illicit enrichment.
Igor Popa, the head of the Ciocana office of the Chisinau Prosecutor’s Office, was also detained on November 9 in a criminal case of illicit enrichment. Alexandru Gheorghieș, the former president of the Bălți Court of Appeal, detained on November 16, is also being investigated for illicit enrichment. At the same time, the prosecutors are managing a case started for illicit enrichment on the name of Tatiana Avasiloaie, a magistrate from the Chișinău Court, Râșcani headquarters. The magistrate is being investigated at large and continues to do justice, without being suspended from office.
On November 27, Ion Țurcan, former deputy interior minister and former president of Criuleni district, about whom ZdG previously wrote that he put up for sale his luxurious house located on the bank of the Dniester was placed under house arrest after he was detained on November 24 and was also being investigated in a case of illicit enrichment.
Prosecutors are also investigating the crime of illicit enrichment in particularly large proportions of former Democratic Party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc. On November 17, the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases announced that Dumitru Robu, the interim general prosecutor, annulled the refusal order to carry out the criminal investigation, issued in the summer of 2021.
On November 24, prosecutors started investigating Veaceslav Eni, the general manager of the Termoelectrica company.
Vitalie Iurcu, former director of Moldtelecom company and former Deputy Minister of Economy, about whom ZdG wrote that he managed to amass an impressive fortune, during the period when he ran one of the largest state-owned companies, is involved in a case of illicit enrichment. On November 26, seven searches were conducted at his home. On Wednesday, December 8, Ghenadie Tanas, the head of the Criminal Investigation Directorate of the National Anticorruption Center, previously investigated in several articles of the ZdG, also ended up being investigated in a case for illicit enrichment, false statements, and illegal financial activity.
All criminal cases initiated for illicit enrichment are in the criminal prosecution phase.