Moldovan President Maia Sandu says European prosecutors can help Moldovan prosecutors tackle major corruption cases in the former Soviet republic and recover assets stolen from the state.
The Moldovan president spoke after two lawmakers had their immunity lifted and were later detained on corruption charges.
Ms Sandu who became president in December met Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Laura Codruța Kovesi in January in Brussels. They discussed how European prosecutors could help Moldova fight corruption, a major problem in the impoverished East European state.
European Prosecutor’s Office
“We want to establish a relationship where the European Prosecutor’s Office and the anti-corruption institutes can cooperate,” the Moldova president said at the time.
“It’s a first step in carrying out joint activities in fighting smuggling and money laundering,” she said.
She said the institute would be willing to help Moldovan prosecutors if they made a request.
On Monday, Ms Sandu said that Moldova’s general prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo had recently asked for assistance from an institute she didn’t explicitly name, Deutsche Welle reported.
She said she had already asked him to accept an invitation from foreign prosecutors to work directly with Moldovan prosecutors on major corruption cases.
However, no final conclusion had been reached with the general prosecutor.
„We talked, but we don’t have a „Yes!” firmly from (Alexandr) Stoianoglo, ” she said, speaking on Moldovan television.
The ex World Bank official ran on an anti-corruption ticket. She won a landslide victory over the pro-Russian incumbent, Igor Dodon in November 2020.
Moldova’s anti-corruption fight has had mixed results. Major corruption cases have not been resolved such as one billion dollar bank fraud.
Also Monday, prosecutors detained two lawmakers who are charged with abuse of office, fraud and money laundering. The cases are connected to the concession of Chisinau International Airport and the 2014 bank fraud.
Denis Ulanov and Petru Jardan on Monday lost their parliamentary immunity and were later detained.
The presence of the prosecutor general in Parliament who called for their immunity to be lifted was a surprise. The Sor party they are members of still controls the government and a state institutions.
Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo was appointed to the position in 2019. However, he has refrained from what are considered sensitive cases connected to former President Igor Dodon.
Organized crime group
Ilan Sor was handed a seven-year sentence for embezzling more than 5 billion Moldovan lei from a state bank in November 2014. He fled Moldova in 2019.
Mr Stoianoglo claimed that one of the lawmakers whose immunity was lifted „Ulanov acted in the interest of (a) criminal association.”
He will be questioned over the bank fraud case.
Anti-corruption prosecutors questioned Petru Jardan on Monday on charges of official misconduct, a case in which he is accused of acting for an organized crime group against state interests.
He is accused of attempting to illegally take over the Chisinau International Airport. Prosecutors searched his home and offices.