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OSCE Chairman Kurz: We support settlement of the Transnistrian conflict with respect to the integrity of Moldova

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On February 4th, the Austrian Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the OSCE, Sebastian Kurz, made a visit to Moldova to discuss the agenda of the Transnistrian conflict settlement, but also the bilateral relations between Austria and Moldova.

Kurz first met the Moldovan Prime-Minister Pavel Filip. While the Austrian was more focused on condemning the current escalations of the Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine, Filip stressed the importance of withdrawing the illegally stationed regular troops of Russia from the breakaway Transnistria. The Moldovan premier added that his Government would continue the policy of small steps in the process of negotiation with the separatist left bank, but would also seek to settle the legal status of Transnistria. In his turn, the OSCE Chairman supported a solution of keeping the Transnistrian region within the Republic of Moldova, emphasizing its central position in the agenda of the Organization.

OSCE Chairman and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, and Moldovan Prime-Minister Pavel Filip

Later, Filip and Kurz together opened the Austrian Embassy in Chișinău and then visited the Moldo-Austrian Business Forum at the “Made in Moldova” Exhibition.

The President Igor Dodon also received the Austrian Minister at his residence to talk about the Transnistrian conflict settlement. According to Dodon, there must be a package approach to the 4 topics, which he did not mention though, of major importance to the people of both banks of Nistru. The President promised to cooperate with the Government, despite different visions, for the project of reintegrating Transnistria with Moldova. Dodon proposed to Kurz to organize, together with the OSCE, a conference on “Republic of Moldova- territory of stability and development or a new challenge in the East-West relations” at the end of 2017.

Moldova headed by President Igor Dodon and OSCE delegation headed by Minister Sebastian Kurz

Kurz also met with the Transnistrian party, represented by the so-called foreign minister Vitaly Ignatiev and the leader Vadim Krasnoselsky, reports novostipmr.com. Kurz told Krasnoselsky that OSCE priorities for 2017 are fighting terrorism and aggression, confidence building, conflict solving in the countries of the region, but also, more specifically, improving the life quality of people of Transnistria and Moldova. On the other side, Krasnoselsky assured the Austrian Chairman that Transnistria is a peace-loving country that wants to live in peace with its neighbors– Moldova and Ukraine.

OSCE Chairman Sebastian Kurz and Transnistria leader Vadim Krasnoselsky

Later asked by a journalist about the legal position in the talks, Krasnoselsky declared he had told Kurz that the independence of the Transnistria is the guarantee for its security. The Transnistrian leader also seemed satisfied with the position taken by the Austrian Chairmanship. The reports of the Transnistrian media do not mention any discussion between Kurz and Krasnoselsky on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the breakaway region.

During his last meeting of the day with the Moldovan Foreign Minister Andrei Galbur, Kurz was informed about the problems of the 5+2 dialogue that would be soon addressed in accordance to the Berlin protocol: ensuring free movement of people, goods and services between the two banks, opening the bridge between Gura Bâcului and Bâcioc, ensuring necessary conditions for the good functioning of schools with latin script, ensuring the free access of farmers from Dubăsari districts, as well as ensuring the respect for human rights in the breakaway region.

The Foreign Ministers agreed to organize a 5+2 negotiation round in Vienna in the second trimester of 2017.

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Justice

Former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat was released from detention

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Former prime minister Vladimir Filat was freed from detention on December 3rd, after a request was registered at the Chișinău District Court by the administration  of the prison no. 13 (the prison where the former prime minister spent his detention) on November 12th. The detention of Vladimir Filat was reduced by 709 days based on the decision of the national court as compensation for the inhuman and degrading treatment that was inflicted to him.

Vladimir Filat was supposed to serve a nine years prison sentence until November 5th, 2022. However, the law provides for the possibility of conditional release after serving 2/3 of the sentence. The former prime minister could have been released from detention on October 15th, 2021.

However, in July and October this year, there were two court decisions (based on a decision of the European Court of Human Rights) on reducing the sentence by 709 days, as a compensation for the bad conditions of detention. Thus, after the execution of 709 days reduction, it was concluded that Vladimir Filat has already reached 2/3 of his sentence on November 6th.

“Filat was sentenced to nine years in prison. Two-thirds of the sentence is six years. Now he’s four years old. One year was calculated for two, because he was sentenced in inhuman conditions. […] The law allows that when there are no civil actions and no recovery of damages,” explained  Filat’s lawyer Ion Vâzdoaga for TV8.

Vladimir Filat was sentenced to nine years of imprisonment on October 15th, 2015, being found guilty of passive corruption and traffic of influence. His criminal case was directly related to the disappearance of one billion dollars from 3 banks of the Republic of Moldova.

There is also a second criminal case, in which the former prime minister is charged with committing large-scale money laundering. The former prime minister pleads innocent.

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Justice

One more criminal case filed against Vladimir Plahotniuc for holding a second Moldovan citizenship

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On October 29th, the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office filed one more criminal case against the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (DPM), Vladimir Plahotniuc, for illegally obtaining a second passport of the Republic of Moldova, with a second identity. The criminal prosecution was started based on accusations of “abuse of service, committed in the interest of an organised criminal group or a criminal organisation,” according to the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office information.

The offence based on which the criminal investigation was initiated is punishable by imprisonment from three to seven years, by the deprivation of the right to hold certain offices or to carry out a certain activity for a term of 10 to 15 years.

The chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on National Security, Defence and Public Order, Chiril Moţpan, confirmed at a press conference that the former leader of DPM Vladimir Plahotniuc had a dual identity in the Republic of Moldova. “We have come into possession of a document that clearly indicates that the citizen Vladimir Plahotniuc has one more identity in the Republic of Moldova. That information also reached the Prosecutor’s Office and a criminal case was filed,” declared Moţpan.

No personal details about the second identity of Plahotniuc was provided, as these data were classified. According to the declarations of Chiril Moţpan, the document would have been obtained when Sergei Răilean, the godson of the current DPM president, Pavel Filip, held the office as the director of the Public Services Agency. According to the chairman of the Parliamentary Commission, the Democrat Sergei Iaralov (one of the most important persons of the Plahotniuc’s trusted circle) has also two Moldovan identities.

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Politics

Transparency International Moldova is calling for the immediate repeal of the Citizenship by Investment Law

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Transparency International Moldova has repeatedly drawn the attention of the public and the authorities to the risk of adopting the Citizenship by Investment Program in Moldova, as it represents a mean of legalisation of financial resources of fraudulent origin, undermines efforts to combat major corruption and investigate bank frauds, and affects the national integrity system, according to a statement published on transparency.md.

The Citizenship by Investment Law was adopted in October 2017. In June 2019, after several public debates, the Government, the Parliament and the Presidency of the Republic of Moldova introduced and adopted through a joint effort the bill on repeal of the  Citizenship by Investment Law at first reading. One month later, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, declared the official interruption of the Citizenship by Investment Program.

The interruption was established for a period of 4 months to clarify all aspects related to the functionality of the program and its risks, as well as to verify the economic agents contracted in order to carry out the program.

“Transparency International Moldova expresses its concern that the period granted for clarifications has expired without any results and calls on the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova to urgently adopt, in a final reading, the bill on the repeal of Citizenship by Investment Law and to the President of the Republic of Moldova – to promulgate the adopted document,” is stated in the statement of Transparency International Moldova.

Additionally, the National Chapter of the world anti-corruption organisation reiterates the importance of implementing the package of bills on the oligarchization in the Republic of Moldova, as well as the Declaration on the recognition of the captive character of the state, adopted by the Parliament on June 8th, 2019.

More details about the Citizenship by Investment Law, as well as the implementation of the respective program here.

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