The Public Prosecutor’s Office has taken steps to “determine whether the actions of the judges” involved in the case in which a Romanian construction company was damaged “may bear the marks of criminal offences”, following an ECHR ruling
The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG) announced on Monday 17 October that it has filed an investigation into the 11 October ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Theo Construct SRL v. Moldova.
“The above-mentioned judgment found a violation of Article 1, Protocol No. 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (violation of the right to property). As a result of the above, today, 17.10.2022, the Prosecutor General’s Office has taken action to determine whether the actions of judges or other decision-makers concerned may bear the hallmarks of criminal offences,” reads the statement issued by the PG.
In its judgment on the merits of Theo National Construct SRL v. Republic of Moldova, the Court concluded that the proceedings in which the decisions were taken concerning the Romanian-based applicant company, whose core business is road construction and repair, were conducted in an arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable manner, according to a summary by the Government Agent Directorate of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova.
Sergiu Litvinenco, on the ECHR ruling on legal proceedings by which a Romanian company was damaged: “I hope that prosecutors will examine both the involvement of the former politician and all the judges who adopted decisions”
Vladislav Gribincea, president of the Moldovan Legal Resources Centre and a lawyer representing the company, said the Court had “delivered one of the harshest judgments I have ever read”.
“The Romanian company sent the Moldovan company road construction equipment worth more than one million euros. Subsequently, the Moldovan company was awarded a contract for road construction worth over 20 million euros. The equipment sent by the Romanian company was pledged to a bank in order to obtain cash for road construction. Also, the founder of the Romanian company guaranteed the loans taken by the Moldovan company by pledging his house, valued at 400 thousand euros (…) In other words, the Romanian company was left without equipment, without a share in the company and without any compensation, and the founder of the Romanian company – without a house. In this case the state will pay (it is certain that the compensation cannot be less than the value of the equipment) millions of euros,” reads a post on the lawyer’s Facebook page.
Vladislav Gribincea claims that “the arbitrary decision was pronounced by the president of the Civil and Administrative Court of Appeal of the Chisinau Court of Appeal, who would have distributed the file himself”.
According to a statement made by the general director of “Theo National Construct” SRL, Toader Golovatiuc, in 2011, the Court of Appeal judge who handed down the decision is Gheorghe Crețu, the only person convicted in 2015 in the case of the hunt in the Domnească Forest.
“The day after the ruling of the Chisinau Court of Appeal, we contacted Mr Cretu’s clerk to ask for a copy of the reasoned judgment or at least the operative part. We were told that the device was not ready and that the reasoned judgment would be within the legal deadline.
It was only after we submitted a written request to the Court of Appeal Registry on 09.02.2011 that we received a simple copy of the operative part. On the device was the signature of the representative of “Șel and C” SRL as if he had received a copy on the very day the judgment was issued.
The question arises, what was the interest of withholding the issuance of the device and if Judge Gheorghe Cretu, in order not to damage the interests of “Șel and C” SRL ordered the immediate execution – why is he not so operative when it comes to the rights of SC “Theo National Construct” SRL?”, said in 2011, for IPN, the general director of “Theo National Construct” SRL, Toader Golovatiuc.
According to the Moldovan representation to the ECHR, in 2007, the applicant company agreed with Moldovan businessman and chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Moldova (PSD) Victor Selin (Ș) to invest in road construction on the Moldovan market. As a result, she was admitted as a partner in the limited liability company Quadro-Desing Plus (Q), later renamed “Ecodrum Construct” SRL, contributing a 50% stake in the share capital.
“The case concerns the hostile takeover of the plaintiff company in 2011 by one of the associates who was controlled by S., as well as the alleged illegal deprivation of the plaintiff company of its assets with the involvement of the courts and law enforcement agencies in a ‘raider attack’,” reads the summary of the judgment which was carried out by the Government Agent Directorate.
Before the court, Theo National Construct complained that it had been the victim of a “raider attack” and that, by the way it had been excluded from the list of associates of the company Q., it had in fact been deprived of its assets, contrary to Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
As regards the complaint of the respondent company concerning its wrongful exclusion from the list of Q.’s shareholders, the Court held that this constituted an extralegal measure, contrary to the provisions of Article 47 of the Limited Liability Companies Act in force at the time of the events.
“The Court also observed that the request of the associate of company Q. for the exclusion of the applicant company from the list of associates was never brought to the attention of the applicant company. In any event, the national file contains no evidence that the applicant had ever been provided with a copy of that request.
Although the minutes of the hearing of 22 December 2010 indicated that this application had been made for the first time on that date and that the applicant had been asked to provide a reference to it by the next hearing, the authenticity and reliability of those minutes was a matter of serious concern to the Court. In that regard, the Court noted that the minutes not only referred to a file number which was not yet available on 22 December 2010, but that that hearing had apparently been adjourned by a decision of the same judge the day before,” the summary of the judgment reads.
In the same vein, the Court found that the minutes of the hearing of 20 January 2011 also showed signs of falsification. Similarly, the Court noted the different dates of the delivery of the judgment of 2 February 2011, the extreme speed of the execution of that judgment and the involvement of a person close to Selin in the process.
The Court also noted that, although the applicant company had invoked all the inadequacies and omissions in question in its appeal, the Supreme Court of Justice did not respond in any way to the very serious allegations concerning the abuses committed at the stage of the proceedings before the Chisinau Court of Appeal, nor did it mention them in its decision of 20 May 2011.
Consequently, the Court concluded that the proceedings in which these decisions were adopted were conducted in an arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable manner.
The Court therefore held that, in the present case, the State had failed to fulfil its positive obligations under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention by deciding that there had been a violation of the applicant company’s right to respect for its property.
At the same time, the Court reserved for separate proceedings the question of the award of just satisfaction under Article 41 of the Convention.
Ziarul de Garda wrote in 2014 about Victor Șelin, then head of the Electoral Bloc “Moldova’s Choice – Customs Union” and the only official sponsor of that political party. He urged Moldovan citizens to vote against pro-European parties and to elect Russia on 30 November 2014, even though the mega-businesses he patronised, which brought him a lot of money, including for the election campaign, were developed on the back of famous European or American brands.