The Chișinău court has struck out the applications for a writ of summons filed by two people targeted in the ZdG investigations, after both plaintiffs failed to appear at court hearings.
Anatolie Untu was head of the Bobeica Forestry Office when he was targeted in the “Forest Thieves” investigation, published by ZdG in May 2021, where he was accused by Vasile Frunză, a former forester under him, of giving him illegal orders. Untu sued ZdG in July 2021.
Anatolie Untu’s claim dismissed
Recently, on 16 June 2022, at the Chișinău Court of Appeals (CA), Judge Igor Pulbere ordered that the claim be withdrawn. The court found that the plaintiff did not appear at the court hearings in the lawsuit he filed.
“The correspondence sent to the plaintiff was returned, marked ‘unclaimed’. According to the telephonogram drawn up by the clerk on 04 November 2021, the plaintiff communicated his e-mail address for the service of procedural documents. A summons was sent for both the hearing of 15 February 2022 and the hearing of 16 June 2022. At the hearing of 16 June 2022, the plaintiff did not appear, and the reasons for his absence were not brought to the attention of the court,” reads the decision of the Chisinau Court, which can be appealed to the CA.
The application of Alexei Ghiba and his companies, withdrawn
A few days later, on 20 June, the Chișinău Court removed from the case another application for a writ of summons against ZdG. Alexei Ghiba, the founder of companies targeted in the “Pyramid of false promises” investigation, in which we report on how several people lost thousands of euros and accused Ghiba’s companies of fraud and creating a financial pyramid, sued ZdG in February 2022. Judge Maria Muruianu ordered the case dismissed.
“The participants in the lawsuit are to use their rights in good faith, in the absence of the plaintiff’s expression of interest in the claim, taking into consideration that both the plaintiff and his lawyer did not appear in the court hearings, having been legally summoned, did not communicate to the court the reasons for their non-appearance and did not request the examination of the case in their absence, the court comes to the conclusion to strike out the claim,” the court reasoned. In this case, too, the plaintiffs may appeal the first court’s decision to the Chisinau CA.
ZdG notes that the article “Pyramid” of false promises, published by ZdG in December 2021, reached the General Inspectorate of Police in January this year. After the material was widely distributed on social networks, an IPG employee came to the ZdG editorial office to request certain information that we identified during the course of documenting the story.
Subsequently, on 29 March this year, the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) announced that a criminal group, suspected of fraud and illegal entrepreneurial activity, had been broken up. The institution referred to the Pro Team project, managed by Alexei Ghiba, which promoted a “cashback” application called “Swittips” on social networks with the aim of collecting money in amounts ranging from 80 to 1500 euros.