Moldovan anti-graft prosecutors have detained the opposition-backed General Prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo on charges of corruption and abuse of power.
“We are returning to a „captured’ state,” said Alexandru Stoianoglo said as he was escorted Tuesday from his office by special forces.
He was apparently referring to a period when the now fugitive oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc was said to control all state institutions.
Mr Stoianoglo was elected General Prosecutor in November 2019. However, critics said his appointment was rigged by the then-dominant Socialists.
Justice Minister Sergiu Litvinenco said he had crossed a red line by using his position for personal gain and engaging in corruption and influence peddling.
“He is desperate and is trying to victimize himself. But he is not the victim of politics, as he tries to present,” the justice minister said.
“He has become a puppet in the hands of the corrupt and of the thieves who have been stealing from this country for decades.”
He is accused of using confidential information during an investigation in his own interest after he published the wiretapped conversations of the former General Prosecutor, Viorel Morari, people working at NGOs and journalists. He denies charges.
Before his detention for 72 hours, he was suspended from his duties.
He is also accused of facilitating money laundering in Moldova by backing amendments to the Law on Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.
Moldova’s former Socialist president, Igor Dodon, condemned his detention. He traveled to Moscow immediately after his detention and has threatened protests.
“No one can know exactly what the long-term consequences of this extraordinary abuse of the rule of law will be. But the consequences will be harmful to those who gave this abuse the green light,” said Mr Dodon.
But President Maia Sandu hailed the move, saying “As president…. I want what the citizens want: strict respect for the law, no abuses, and lawfully punishing whoever committed abuses,” she said in a Facebook message.
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