The Prosecutor General, appointed in 2019 during the presidency of Igor Dodon, is being prosecuted in a criminal corruption case. They say that he tried to protect corrupt politicians and businessmen, removed them from the wanted list, and helped them to leave the country without hindrance. Stoianoglo himself does not agree with this and calls what is happening political revenge.
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe with a population of 3.5 million and has suffered from corruption scandals in recent years, including the disappearance of $ 1 billion from the banking system. On top of that, the country also found itself without the leadership of the prosecutor's office.
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Details of the case against Stoianoglo
Stoianoglo is a representative of the previous team of the pro-Russian ex-president Igor Dodon. He was appointed to the post in 2019 - a few weeks before the start of the term of Maya Sandu in 2020, who promised to take a course towards the EU and begin the fight against corrupt officials.
Minister of Justice Sergiu Litvinenko accused Stoianoglo of being "a puppet in the hands of large corrupt officials and thieves who have been plundering Moldova for decades."
At the request of Litvinenko and the deputy of the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) Lilian Karp, an audit of the work of the Prosecutor General was started. The check was carried out by the prosecutor Victor Furtune with the permission of the Superior Council of Prosecutors, received on the morning of October 5.
Stoianoglo was accused of proposing an amendment to the law "On Combating Money Laundering" during his term in office in 2012. As a result, in 2014, the scheme helped "launder" $ 70 billion under a scheme under the guise of paying off debts. Investigative journalists nicknamed the scheme "Laundromat" - members of the international criminal community, under the guise of legal operations, withdrew funds from Russia to Moldova. After that, the money was written off according to forged court decisions in favor of Moldovan companies, and members of the criminal community appropriated the funds for themselves.
Also, the PAS deputies accused Stoyanoglo of corruption ties with businessman Vyacheslav Platon, who left the country in the summer and is now on the wanted list. The Prosecutor General's Office allegedly unlawfully overturned the charges against Plato, after which he was released and fled. The prosecutor's office did nothing to stop him or return him to Moldova for prosecution.
Wife of the Prosecutor General Tsvetana Kurdova was registered with two companies owned by Vyacheslav Platon (Verlok Development (100% of the company is owned by Alena Stashevskaya) and Jet Business Limited INC. Both companies were the beneficiaries of Moldindconbank (MICB) shares. MICB canceled the shares owned by the companies).
The Prosecutor General's Office paid a dismissal allowance to the ex-head of the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) Nikolai Chitoroaga, although he was under investigation.
In total, charges were brought on four counts: abuse of office, abuse of office, passive corruption, and perjury to the competent authorities.
The detention was also bright and quick (permission to check was received only in the morning): Stoianoglo was supposed to give a press conference at 18:00 local time, but did not appear. Instead, the media showed masked security forces entering the building of the Prosecutor General's Office to arrest him. After that, searches took place in the prosecutor's office for several hours. In addition, later, the footage of the Moldovan channel TV8 showed how Stoianoglo was brought to his home when a search was carried out in his house.
Response of the Prosecutor General and the Opposition
Stoianoglo himself disagrees with the accusations. He claims that the new Moldovan authorities tried to persuade him to open cases against representatives of the parliamentary opposition, and then began to persecute him.
“I have neither legal grounds nor moral right to resign. I understand that this is achieved by the new authorities, which have set out to establish political control over the Prosecutor General's Office. Attacks on the Prosecutor General, discrediting the Prosecutor General, and his subsequent dismissal are the number one concern of the current authorities, including the President of Moldova," Stoianoglo said.
Former President Igor Dodon described the arrest as provoked by "the authorities' fear of what Stoianoglo might say" and "a dictatorship camouflaged as democracy."
“Today was a fatal political mistake. resignation - all this suggests that the authorities are in despair. And they have taken an extremely erroneous path," Dodon said.
Dodon himself flew to Moscow on October 5.
Sandu's team reaction
Moldovan President Maia Sandu has repeatedly publicly accused Stoianoglo of protecting corrupt politicians and businessmen. After his arrest, she published a post on Facebook, where she emphasized that the decision to initiate criminal proceedings was made by the High Council of Prosecutors, and the prosecutor's office on Stoianoglo’s arrest.
"As president of the country, I want what the citizens want. People demand justice. State institutions responsible for fighting corruption must take these expectations into account and always act in accordance with the law. Those who commit illegal actions must be held accountable under the law," Sandu wrote ...
Parliament Speaker Igor Grosu said that there are still those in the law enforcement agencies who "resist changes", but he hopes for the completion of the criminal case.
“There are those who say that everything is going too slowly in this country. Others, like in this case, say that everything is going too fast. Questions about how events developed are best to ask the Supreme Council of Prosecutors. The ending is important for me. I have already seen the show. I want to see the final in compliance with legal procedures and rights,” said Grosu.
While Stoianoglo is in jail, the office is being claimed by the Prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Victor Furtune and the Prosecutor of the Chisinau Prosecutor's Office Dumitru Robu.