4 Apr 2024 21:14

Moldovan Customs Service head steps down over corruption at his agency

CHISINAU. April 4 (Interfax) - Moldovan Customs Service head Igor Talmazan tendered his resignation on Thursday, making it clear that his decision was linked to the detention of several customs officers at Chisinau Airport who are suspected of corruption and turned out to be the children of MPs.

"The latest incident, when seven customs inspectors suspected of corruption were identified at the airport's customs checkpoint, shows that many more efforts are needed. [...] The fight against corruption is a long-term task and new energy is needed to accelerate and complete this mission, so the new chief should focus more on anti-corruption activities," Talmazan said.

He noted that as chief, he "bears responsibility for both the successes and failures" of the institution he leads and acknowledged that "there is still a lot of work to be done in the sphere of institutional incorruptibility and professional ethics."

Talmazan has led the Customs Service since 2021.

On April 1, officers of the National Anti-Corruption Center conducted 16 searches at Chisinau Airport. Four customs inspectors were detained on suspicion of corruption. The investigators said they extorted between $50 and $1,000 from passengers for permission to bring into or take out a number of goods from the country without paying customs duties.

The son and daughter of two lawmakers, as well as the son of a member of the previous Moldovan parliament, were among the detainees.

On April 1, Constantin Brasovschi, the son of the former MP from the Democratic Party Gheorghe Brasovschi, was placed under preliminary arrest in a pre-trial detention facility. Two other customs inspectors were placed under house arrest for 30 days.

Four other people are involved in the case. They remain at large as the investigation is ongoing. The daughter of an MP from the Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) Victoria Cazacu and the son of an MP from the Party of Socialists Radu Mudreac are among them.

All the suspects insist on their innocence. They refused to answer journalists' questions.

MP Cazacu was expelled from the ruling PAS party due to the scandal. However, she refused to comply with the party's demand that she resign her parliamentary mandate, citing the need to respect the presumption of innocence with regard to her daughter. The Party of Socialists did not punish Mudreac, considering that his son's guilt was not proven.