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The Academy of Sciences of Moldova has no president anymore. The shady resignation of Gheorge Duca

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Since February 2004 till November 2018, Gheorghe Duca was the head of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. Recently, he declared that he is going to leave his position because of health issues.

“Suspicions and uncertainty around the renewed case of my family’s income declaration have raised my blood pressure and blood glucose level. I do not want that the health problem I previously had would come back. Unfortunately, under the conditions of the new reforms, my managing experience is no longer required, there are other expectations and other prerogatives,” claimed Duca in an interview for Ziarul de Gardă.

In 2017, prosecutors initiated a criminal proceeding against Gheorghe Duca and Maria Duca (his wife), both being suspected of unjust enrichment. The proceeding was based on a complaint of Ilie Donica, the president of the Institute of Horticulture and Food Technologies, in the autumn of 2016. According to Donica, Gheorghe and Maria Duca would have illegally received in 2015 wages and bonuses in the total amount of about half a million of Lei from the activity carried out within the Academy of Sciences of Moldova (ASM), at the Academy of Sciences University, and some other institutions they were related to. Following Donica’s complaints, an investigation within the Ministry of Finance was renewed regarding the unreported income of Duca family and their undervalued properties.

It is speculated in the media that some of their illegal actions were already confirmed by the investigation of the Ministry of Finance and Mr. and Mrs. Duca confessed and returned a part of the money to the institutions in question.

An investigation conducted within the Journalism Investigative Centre showed that the real value of a holiday villa that was included in the list of their declared properties may exceed 100,000 euros, judging by the prices in that area. The villa is 658 square meters and is located in the town of Borsec, Harghita County, Romania. In the documents, the house value is only 12,500 euros. The president of the ASM told journalists that anyone can buy a villa in Borsec because it’s cheap.

In 2014, the National Integrity Commission has found that Gheorghe Duca and his wife violated the legal status of income and property declaration for 2013. The results of the investigation revealed that he did not declare 4 lands outside the city, 17 bank accounts, and the ownership of shares in several commercial companies.

Gheorghe Duca denied any allegations against him and his family.

“I do not consider myself guilty, I didn’t do any fraud schemes, but I have consolidated the properties of the Academy and didn’t allow the land privatization. I would have wanted, or not… to possess all the properties mentioned in the accusations. Our wealth was acquired during 40 years of activity of two people who had good positions and benefited from high salaries. Both my wife and I had an apartment when we married. Finally, we had parents who supported us and left us an inheritance of the assets they had accumulated.”

Duca states that the Academy of Sciences of Moldova registered impressive achievements during his presidency, the most important of them being the salaries raise, the growth of investments in science and the rehabilitation of the Academy’s infrastructure. “We were the first country from the post-Soviet area to be fully accepted in the European research area,” Duca said proudly in a dialog with tribuna.md.

However, he forgot to mention that, for example, the current wage for a researcher – 4800 lei (approximately 250 euro), that was increased from 500 lei in 2004, has been influenced by inflation and national currency depreciation.

“The Moldovan scientific community is highly appreciated in the European research area for its performance, given its limited resources, as well as for its flexibility and readiness to promote integration into the scientific community,” said Duca. Later in the same interview, he mentioned that in the period of 2014-2016, only 24 projects out of 242 proposals were financed by the European Commission.  

Featured photo source: tribuna.md

Justice

Maia Sandu asks the magistrates of the Moldovan Constitutional Court to submit their resignation letters

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PM Maia Sandu was disturbed by the communiqué issued by the Constitutional Court. The report issued by the CC said that the reason for the annulment of the decisions taken on 7-9 June is “the situation in the Republic of Moldova, especially the announcement of the transfer of power to the Government of Sandu and the coalition formed in the Parliament Republic of Moldova”. Note that three of the six magistrates of the Constitutional Court come from the Democratic Party.

“The judges of the Constitutional Court continue their delirium, nationally and internationally shaming the institution they represent. In essence, the Court, rather than recognizing that it participated in the desperate attempt of the Democratic Party to maintain its power unlawfully, justifies its decision only by the fact that this is the situation at present in the Republic of Moldova. I call this approach inappropriate from the perspective of respect for the Supreme State Law. The Constitutional Court must adopt acts in accordance with the provisions of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, and not based on the decisions and behavior of the political actors in the country. At the same time, I ask the judges of the Court to submit their resignations immediately if they still have a little honor and respect for the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and the citizens of this country,” says Maia Sandu.

Romanian Judge Cristi Danileţ, a former member of the Superior Council of Magistracy in Romania, claims that the decision of the Constitutional Court on the cancellation of the judgments issued on 7-9 June is legally unprecedented.

Previously, the Constitutional Court ruled by Plahotniuc, declared unconstitutional the election of the leadership of the Moldovan Parliament and the vote of the new Government, and later instituted the interim president, after having previously decided that the deadline for a new government to vote was 7 June 2019, not June 9, as previously mentioned in the public space. These decisions have given rise to a number of criticisms and, at the request of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, the Venice Commission was due to comment on the decisions taken by the CC next week.

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From Plahotniuc to Moldasig, via Gibraltar. New details about a business of over 500,000,000 lei // RISE Moldova

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RISE Moldova has offered new details about the business of over 500,000,000 lei through which 3 buildings owned by Finpar Invest SRL – the oldest company of the oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, were sold last year to an offshore in Gibraltar.

Shortly after that transaction, one of the buildings – a historic townhouse in the immediate vicinity of Parliament – was taken over by Real Group Imobil, a joint stock company in the Republic of Moldova, the owner of whom was unknown at that time.

Last week, Real Group Imobil made its first activity report public. The document shows that the company has a share capital of almost 55,000,000 lei and is fully owned by the Moldasig insurance company.

Moldasig was part of a number of companies controlled by controversial banker Veaceslav Platon. Platon’s business empire in Moldova began to shake, especially in 2016, when he was arrested. Subsequently, in 2018, he was finally convicted of 18 years of jail for scam and money laundering.

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Photo: The arrest of Veaceslav Platon

At present, about 80% of the insurance company’s shares are sold for only 15,000,000 lei.

RISE states that the potential buyer of the majority stake of 65% – auctioned with nearly 12,000,000 lei, will control Moldasig and its properties, including the villa near the Parliament, valued, along with the related land, at about 59,000,000 lei!

In the last year’s Finpar Invest real estate transaction, a 10 ha plot near the Chisinau North Bus Station was also involved.

Read more about Finpar Invest here and here.

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Infographic: History of shareholders of Finpar Invest SRL

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Finpar Invest SRL service: Connections between domains and E-mail addresses

It is about the same Moldasig, which in the meantime took over the villa near Parliament, and Asito, of which Veaceslav Platon controlled 83% of the shares, a package he claimed to have bought in 2011 from Vlad Plahotniuc – oligarch, Democratic Party leader, and usurper of the Moldovan state – as Maia Sandu calls him.

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Justice

The Prosecutor General’s Office draws attention to the alarming level of sexual abuse cases in the Republic of Moldova

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The General Prosecutor’s Office draws attention to the alarming level of sexual abuse in the Republic of Moldova, of which cases complete the operative agenda daily, writes Adevarul. According to statistics, during the last year, 611 sexual offenses were committed in the country, during which 115 defendants were sentenced to execution punishments. At present, 1189 prisoners in the country or every fifth convict, are serving their sentences for sex offenses.

Reminder: In every case of rape, prosecutors plead for deprivation of aggressors’ freedom, requiring the court to convict them to maximum punishment, provided by the national law and in line with the ECHR doctrines.

Recently, two inhabitants from the Briceni district have been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in a closed penitentiary. It has been decided after the prosecutors have shown evidence on their crime of sexual abuse of their neighbors, who were underage girls.

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