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Moldovan former Prime Minister Vlad Filat stops hunger strike

December 14, 2015, 18:59 UTC+3 CHISINAU
Arrested on October 15 on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of $1 bln from three Moldovan banks, he refused to take food on November 30 in protest against the poor prison cell conditions
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Moldovan former Prime Minister Vlad Filat

Moldovan former Prime Minister Vlad Filat

© EPA/DUMITRU DORU

CHISINAU, December 14. /TASS/. Arrested on charges of corruption, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (LDPM), former Prime Minister Vlad Filat has stopped a hunger strike on Monday, the press service of the country’s Department of Penitentiary Institutions reported.

"Filat stopped the hunger strike on December 14," the statement says. "The doctors who examined him said the detainee’s health condition was satisfactory."

According to lawyer Igor Popa, the politician refused to take food on November 30 in protest against the poor prison cell conditions. "You cannot keep a deputy, former prime minister in prison together with dangerous criminals, even separated by a wall. The inmates are shouting obscenities to him when he is walking down the corridor to take a shower. He is asked: ‘Where’s the billion? Filat cannot feel safe," said the lawyer. The defense lawyers have requested house arrest for the politician.

Filat was arrested on October 15, suspected of involvement in the disappearance of $1 billion from three Moldovan banks. The scandal has thrown Moldova into economic and political chaos. In recent weeks thousands of people have protested in the centre of Moldova's capital Chisinau, demanding that the government and top civil servants resign. The missing money is equivalent to an eighth of the ex-Soviet republic's entire GDP. Moldova is one of Europe's poorest countries. The scandal caused a rapid fall in the value of the national currency, the leu, hitting Moldovans' living standards.

The charges against Filat are based on full confession of well-known Moldovan businessman Ilan Shor. During interrogation last October 13, he wrote on 10 pages for the prosecutors the story of "corrupt practices" of the former prime minister. Thus, Shor claimed to have paid about $250 million to the former prime minister for his services and for favorable environment for his business. Shor is a target in the case of embezzlement of $1 billion from three Moldovan banks — Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank.

Filat’s arrest has led to the collapse of the ruling coalition Alliance for European Integration, which, together with the Liberal Democratic Party, included the Democratic Party of Moldova and the Liberal Party. Filat has rejected all accusations against him and claimed that the pro-European coalition partner, former vice chairman of the Democratic Party, Vladimir Plahotniuc, called by the Moldovan press "the grey cardinal of the Moldovan politics," is behind his arrest. Currently, the three pro-European parties are in negotiations on the formation of a new government, however, they have made little progress as the level of mistrust is high among the former allies. According to the lawyer, Filat has called on his fellow party members to remain in the opposition.

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