14 Jan 2020 20:08

Moldovan president wants to ensure Plahotniuc's return home in handcuffs

CHISINAU. Jan 14 (Interfax) - Moldovan President Igor Dodon has described oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc's return home in handcuffs as his priority.

"The objective of the president, the parliament, the government, the entire Moldovan leadership is holding every person, who was involved in various schemes, corrupt practices, everyone responsible in accordance with the law. Every person, who breached the law, must be in jail. And if you ask me about Plahothiuc, I will answer you yes, transporting Plahotniuc home in handcuffs is a priority for us," Dodon told journalists following a session of the Council of the Party of Socialists in which he took part as its informal leader.

At the end of last year, the Moldovan Supreme Security Council recommended the relevant agencies to make inquiries with the authorities of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Romania about Plahotniuc's whereabouts. "Such inquiries were made. The Interior Ministry also requested last October to declare Plahotniuc internationally wanted through Interpol. I don't have information as of yet whether such decision was made. But these decisions have been made in relation to other people, in particular, member of the parliament Ilan Shor and former member of the parliament Constantin Tutu," the president said.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that fugitive Moldovan oligarch Plahotniuc and members of his family were added to the list of individuals subject to sanctions.

This is the first time the U.S. has imposed personal sanctions on a Moldovan citizen.

The former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, billionaire Vladimir Plahotniuc, left Moldova on June 14, 2019, immediately after the Democratic Party had announced its decision to join the opposition. Plahotniuc resigned as PDM chairman soon afterward and relinquished his parliamentary mandate in late July. Moldovan prosecutors opened criminal cases against him on charges of money laundering and involvement in the theft of money from the national banking system. A Moldovan court ruled on October 11 to issue an arrest warrant for Plahotniuc, and the Moldovan National Anti-Corruption Center added him to international and interstate wanted lists.

Russia has opened several criminal cases against Plahotniuc. Moscow's Tverskoi District Court ruled to issue an arrest warrant for him on July 29, 2019. The Tverskoi Court also ordered in November 2019 that Plahotniuc be arrested for two months at the moment of his detention or extradition to Russia.