The former deputy minister of the Ministry of Interior, who put his mansion up for sale has escaped confiscation
Ion Turcan, a former deputy interior minister and ex-president of Criuleni district, found with unjustified wealth following a story published by Ziarul de Gardă, has escaped confiscation of his fortune. It comes after the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) rejected the appeal filed by the National Integrity Authority (ANI) against the decision of the Chisinau Court of Appeal (CA), whereby the Authority’s request for a finding of substantial difference, possession of unjustified wealth and confiscation of unjustified wealth was declared inadmissible. The decision of the CSJ is irrevocable. Further, Turcan’s name appears in a case for illicit enrichment, brought by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.
In May 2021, the National Integrity Authority (ANI) announced that the former deputy minister of the Interior Ministry was the target of a wealth check, after ZdG published an article about the general’s million-dollar house. According to ANI, the control procedure was initiated based on a self-report.
On October 8, 2021, ANI issued the act of finding against Turcan, noting a substantial difference in the amount of about 390 thousand lei between the wealth acquired and the income realized, as well as its unjustified possession. 12 days later, i.e. on 20 October 2021, Țurcan filed a claim against ANI, requesting the annulment of the act of finding.
On 13 December 2021, ANI filed a counterclaim against Ion Țurcan for a declaration of the existence of a substantial difference, unjustified possession of the assets and confiscation of the unjustified assets, but the first court decided to transfer the case to the administrative dispute procedure.
By decision of 28 February 2022, the Court of Appeal (CA) Chisinau declared inadmissible the counterclaim filed by ANI. The Authority filed an appeal, but the Supreme Court of Justice rejected the appeal in a decision of 13 July and upheld the decision of the Chisinau CA. The judges explained that the counterclaim is a separate category of civil action. The decision of the SCJ is irrevocable.
Former Deputy Interior Minister Ion Turcan was detained on 24 November 2021 after anti-corruption prosecutors raided his home. Anti-corruption prosecutor Petru Iarmaliuc confirmed to ZdG at the time that Ion Turcan is being investigated in a case of illicit enrichment. The investigation was launched by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (PA), following a referral from the National Integrity Authority (ANI), which in turn investigated itself based on a report by ZdG in April 2021, in which we reported on the house worth millions put up for sale by the former deputy interior minister and ex-president of Criuleni district.
Based on the evidentiary materials accumulated in the file, the integrity inspector determined that, for 2019, the former deputy minister could not justify the amount of about 390 thousand lei, following the examination of all his income and expenses.
In April this year, ZdG wrote that General Ion Turcan, former deputy minister of internal affairs, who for 10 months held the post of president of the Criuleni district on behalf of the PDM, put his luxury house, located on the banks of the Dniester River, up for sale. He is ready to exchange the house for an apartment, building materials and even a car. The owner of the property, however, is a man named Alexander, who on the classifieds website, through which Turcan is trying to sell his property, has ads only for cars.
Although the former head of the “Lightning” Special Police Brigade wrote in his declaration of assets and personal interests that the house was obtained through a deed of donation and that its value was 125 thousand lei (around 6,350 euros), the price asked on the ad site was 320 thousand euros, the equivalent of more than 6.8 million lei or 55 times more than he indicated in the documents submitted to the National Integrity Authority (ANI).
The 160-square-metre luxury house is located on a 27-acre plot of land on the banks of the Dniester River, Criuleni district. The two-storey house was registered at the land registry in July 2020, six months after Turcan stepped down as president of Criuleni district. In the meantime, Turcan has sold the property.
Over the years, Ion Turcan’s name has been raised in various scandals. During the communist period, he had retired. There was talk that he had retired following a conflict with Gheorghe Papuc, then Minister of the Interior. He returned when the pro-European forces took power and in July 2009 he was appointed head of the Lightning Brigade.
In 2011, in a letter signed by then Interior Minister Alexei Roibu, Turcan was proposed to the head of state for promotion to general. Cornered by the press, Roibu later said the signature on the letter was forged and did not belong to him. A criminal investigation was launched, but proved otherwise. At the time, however, Turcan did not become a general, which would happen in December 2013, following a decree signed by Nicolae Timofti.
From March 2015 to November 2017, Turcan served as Deputy Minister of Interior and was subsequently appointed as representative of the Office for Combating Organised Crime and Particularly Dangerous Crimes in the CIS.
In March 2019, he was elected president of Criuleni district on behalf of the PDM, serving until the local elections in the autumn of the same year.