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Moldovan opposition leader Usatii detained upon arrival from Moscow

October 23, 2015, 19:16 UTC+3 CHISINAU
The Moldovan prosecutor general’s office opened a criminal case against Usatii after the publication of audio records of talks between former Prime Minister Vlad Filat and businessman Ilan Shor
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Renato Usatii (archive)

Renato Usatii (archive)

©  EPA/DUMITRU DORU

CHISINAU, October 23. /TASS/. Leader of Moldova’s opposition Our Party Renato Usatii has been detained at Chisinau’s international airport on Friday upon arrival from Moscow.

"They served no charges on me and are now taking me to the prosecutor general’s office. For interrogation, I think," he told TASS over the phone providing no further details.

Leader of the Party of Socialists, Igor Dodon, who along with Usatii organized mass anti-government protests in Chisinau, confirmed Usatii’s detention. "We are heading for the prosecutor general’s office to clarify the situation," he told TASS.

A spokesman for the Moldovan interior ministry told TASS Usatii had been detained at the request from the prosecutor general’s office, which had opened a criminal case against Usatii after the publication of audio records of talks between former Prime Minister Vlad Filat and businessman Ilan Shor, who are in the centre of a scandal over the theft of one billion U.S. dollars from the country’s banking system. The records revealed that the former prime minister had asked the businessman for financial aid in exchange for help in promoting his business. Filat was charged with involvement in the embezzlement and later taken in custody.

"My sources told me that this morning the prosecutor general had ordered to open one more criminal case, this time against me," Usatii wrote on his Facebook account. "I understand the fear of those who have not yet joined Filat [in custody]. I know that they are afraid after my yesterday’s publications. And they should be."

Usatii’s party was removed from parliamentary elections last November three days before voting. The leader had to flee the country after a number of criminal cases had been initiated against him. In the spring 2015 he returned to Moldova and won the mayoral elections in Moldova’s second largest city of Balti.

On September 25, Our Party activists, along with supporters of the Party of Socialists, which has the biggest faction in the Moldovan parliament, declared an open ended protest action and put a tent camp in front of the parliamentary building in central Chisinau demanding early elections. Having declared Moldova "a country seized by oligarch," they demand resignation of the authorities and chiefs of a number of state institutions.

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