CHISINAU, October 23. /TASS/. Leader of Moldova’s opposition Our Party and mayor of the country’s second largest city of Balti, Renato Usatii, has been detained for a term of 72 hours, spokeswoman for the Moldovan prosecutor general’s office Maria Vieru told journalists on Friday.
"Renato Usatii refused to give testimony. He is suspected of violating privacy of correspondence. Prosecutors are taking procedural actions. He has been detained for 72 hours," she said.
Usatii’s supporters told journalists the politician’s house had been searched. Earlier on Friday, leader of the Party of Socialists Igor Dodon told TASS after visiting the prosecutor general’s office that Usatii was facing a 72-hour detention. "He is charged with illegal recording and making public telephone conversation between former Prime Minister Vlad Filat and businessman Ilan Shor," he said.
Earlier, Usatii published on his Gacebook account 15 audio records of telephone conversation between Shor and Filat, who was arrested last week on charges of corruption and involvement in the large-scale theft from the country’s banking system.
Usatii was detained on Friday evening at the Chisinau international airport. Usatii returned from Moscow where he had gone on October 21 following publication of the Filat-Shor conversations, which indirectly evidenced to their involvement in corruption activities. Before leaving Moldova, Usatii told journalists the prosecutor general’s office and Moldova’s security services were planning his arrest. He said he had resorted to that step to "prove that Shor and Filat are accomplices in crimes."
Under Moldova’s laws, if proved guilty, Usatii may carry a punishment of a fine of 200 U.S. dollars or 108 hours of compulsory labour for illegal eavesdropping and making public telephone conversations.
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.