Moldova's Parliament lifted on Thursday the immunity of a former prime minister, who was later detained and charged with being involved in a bank fraud of up to $1.5 billion.
A total of 79 lawmakers out of 101 voted to lift the immunity of Vlad Filat, who was prime minister from 2009 to 2013, so he can be investigated for the money that went missing from three banks ahead of Nov. 2014 elections.
Masked officers later escorted Filat, 46, from the Parliament to the anti-corruption prosecutors' office, where he was charged for corruption, including bribery, and influence peddling, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years. He is being detained for 72 hours.
Filat, the most senior politician to ever have his immunity lifted, denies wrongdoing and says the probe is politically motivated.
Lawmakers from the Liberal Democratic Party, which Filat leads and is part of the ruling coalition, did not vote Thursday.
General prosecutor Corneliu Gurin says Filat took bribes worth $260 million from a businessman and helped him gain control of one of the banks.
"We have conclusive evidence that Filat committed fraud worth hundreds of millions of euros at the Savings Bank," said Gurin. "It is a very serious crime, and involves the destruction of evidence."
The businessman, Ilan Shor, was chairman of the board at Savings Bank from April to Nov. 28, 2014.
U.S. investigative company Kroll, which is probing the disappearance of the money, says some 13.5 billion lei, worth about $1 billion at the time, was transferred from the bank on Nov. 24-26, 2014.
The state took control of the bank on Dec. 1, 2014.
Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet, who heads the governing coalition that includes Filat's party, said he would not resign.
"The government will continue its activity," he said, adding his resignation would "give satisfaction to those who wish ill on Moldova."
About 2,000 people gathered outside Parliament on Thursday, the latest in a string of protests over the missing money.
Money also disappeared from the Social Bank and Unibank before last year's parliamentary ballot. All three banks were put under the central bank's administration in December and the losses covered by state reserves.
Two weeks ago, an emergency decree that would have decriminalized several graft offences enraged people, who took to the streets. Thousands of Romanians in over 70 cities began to #resist for an idea. A new generation spoke up. Digi24 is streaming, today at 21:00, the first documentary about the...( ) Read all
As Moldova recently celebrated its 25th anniversary of Independence, TIMPUL sat down with Prime Minister Pavel Filip to discuss how our country has fared over the past quarter-century. About Moldova’s ups and downs, about plans and prospects, and also about national pride – it’s...( ) Read all
Your Excellency, The interview of your colleague, the Extraordinary and Fully Empowered Ambassador of the United States in America in the Republic of Moldova, His Excellency, Mr. James Pettit, granted to the State television network in Chișinău on August 28, 2016, in which he referred to a...( ) Read all
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the declaration of Moldova’s Independence, IPN News Agency decided to depict the portrait of the current Republic of Moldova. For the purpose, we challenged a number of people, including state officials, politicians, businessmen, civil rights...( ) Read all
An interview with Dainius Žalimas, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania centres on one of the recent judgments of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova, which has generated much attention and debate and was handed down for the first time to declare the...( ) Read all
People attend a rally in front of the Parliament building in Chisinau, Moldova, Jan. 24, 2016. Some 40,000 opposition demonstrators took to the streets of the capital calling for early elections amid a political crisis.( ) Read all
The dialogue announced by Head of Parliament Andrian Candu with representatives of protesters for January 25 didn’t take place. The Parliament’s press service didn’t provide information about the holding of a meeting, while protesters’ leaders said they haven’t been...( ) Read all
More than 200 women die from cervical cancer in Moldova yearly. Veronica Ciobanu, gynecologist of the Oncological Institute, has told IPN that cervical cancer affects mainly women aged between 35 and 60. The population is to be informed about the prophylaxis and early detection of this disease...( ) Read all
The fire that happened at the shopping center located on Ismail St in Chisinau on January 23 started because the anti-fire rules when using the smoke and fire ventilation system were violated, deputy head of the Chisinau Emergencies Division Liviu Merzancu said in the ordinary meeting of...( ) Read all
The first woman to be Romania’s prosecutor general, Laura Codruţa Kövesi, was only 33 when appointed in 2006. Seven years later, she marked another milestone when she was named the head of the Romanian Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), an institution created to fight high-level...( ) Read all
Moldovan winemaker Purcari’s Freedom Blend was created in 2011 to commemorate Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine’s 20 years of independence from the Soviet Union. But it took on another meaning when Russian tanks rolled into Crimea last year.( ) Read all
The representatives of the PDM, PL and PPEM decided to form a working group that will draft the agreement of the future government coalition.( ) Read all
After the war broke out in Eastern Ukraine, many observers in Europe held the EU at least partly responsible. Political realists in the West, led by Henri Kissinger and John Mearsheimer, have put at least a part of the blame for Russia`s belligerence on the West.( ) Read all
Former Moldovan prime minister Vlad Filat was arrested on Thursday after he was implicated in the theft of $1 billion (647.02 million pound) from the banking system that has led thousands to camp out in the capital in protest.( ) Read all
When the French engineers and inventors Paul de Faget de Casteljau and Pierre Étienne Bézier came up with the idea of Bézier curves in the middle of the last century — they hardly thought about the fact that in the XXI century — the age of the ideal curves,...( ) Read all
The five countries investigating the downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine a year ago are considering setting up an independent international tribunal after Russia vetoed attempts to establish a U.N.-backed court to prosecute suspects.( ) Read all
Participants in the action in Baghramyan Avenue have only one demand – President Serzh Sargsyan must revoke the decision of the Public Services Regulatory Commission raising electricity tariffs from August 1.( ) Read all