1 Aug 2019 14:07

Moldovan court cuts ex-PM Filat's prison term by nearly 2 years - media

CHISINAU. Aug 1 (Interfax) - A court in Moldova has commuted former Prime Minister Vlad Filat's nine-year prison term on charges of bank fraud by nearly two years, the realitatea.md news website reported on Thursday citing court sources.

"The prison term of former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who was sentenced to nine years in prison, has been commuted by 685 days, that is, by roughly one year and nine months. Judge Constantin Damaschin of the Chisinau Court granted his defense team's petition. The judgment is based on an ECHR judgment concerning the conditions of Filat's imprisonment," the website said.

Filat had lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to complain about violations of his right to liberty and security of person, the conditions in which he is being held at the penitentiary, and a violation of his right to respect for private and family life.

The ECHR partially ruled in Filat's favor, after which his lawyers again filed an application with a national court.

The Moldovan Criminal Procedure Court also entitles Filat to apply for a parole as soon as he has served two thirds of his sentence. Now that the duration of his imprisonment has been cut, Filat's prison term amounts to seven years and three months, of which he has served nearly four years.

Filat was arrested on October 15, 2015. A court ruled on June 27, 2016 to sentence him to nine years in prison, confiscate his property, ban him from occupying public offices for five years, and fine him 60,000 lei ($3,000). He had been charged with corruption, influence peddling, and receiving a $250 million bribe from businessman Ilan Shor.

In another criminal case begun in early February 2019, Filat is charged with massive money laundering. The investigation is still ongoing.

Filat and his lawyers see both cases as politically motivated. They are convinced that former Democratic Party leader and major Moldovan tycoon Vladimir Plahotniuc controlled the entire national justice system and was behind his prosecution and conviction. After the Democratic Party joined the opposition, Plahotniuc fled Moldova on June 14. The Moldovan Interior Ministry believes he might be staying in the United States.