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Moldovan court leaves ex-premier in custody

March 02, 21:16 UTC+3 CHISINAU
1 pages in this article

CHISINAU, March 2 /TASS/. Chisinau’s district court has refused to release Vlad Filat, Moldova’s former prime minister and the head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova, from custody on Wednesday despite the fact that five Moldovan deputies had provided their personal guarantees.

"The court considered the deputies’ request [to release Filat in exchange for their personal guarantees] and the lawyers’ demand to challenge the prosecutor to be unfounded," Prosecutor Adriana Betisor, the case investigator, said after the court hearing on Wednesday.

The court extended Filat’s preliminary arrest for 30 days at the prosecution’s request a day earlier on Tuesday.

Deputies from the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova believe that court has no reasons for keeping Filat in custody for his guilt has not been proven. "We asked to change the measure of restraint [for Filat] under the personal guarantees of five deputies. You see that no progress has been made on the case. Filat has not been convicted. He has the right to stay with his family. We think that his release will have no impact on the investigation," LDPM Deputy Vadim Pistrinciuc told journalists.

Prosecutors suspect Filat of involvement in a high-profile scandal linked to the withdrawal of 1 billion euros from Moldova’s banking sector. The scandal caused huge opposition protests across the country. The former prime minister was deprived of his deputy immunity and arrested straight in parliament on October 15, 2015. His arrest led to a collapse of Moldova’s ruling Alliance for European Integration, which comprised the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova; the Democratic Party of Moldova and the Liberal Party.

Filat has denied all accusations. He claims that Vladimir Plakhotnyuk, the first vice-chariamn of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova and Filat’s pro-European coalition partner, is behind his arrest. The local press calls Plakhotnyuk the most influential oligarch in Moldova.

Street protests flared up again with a new force when parliament appointed Pavel Filip from the Democratic Party of Moldova as new prime minister and approved his government in no time without even hearing Filip’s program. The enraged demonstrators stormed the parliament building. Another four demonstrations in which tens of thousands took part were held in the Moldovan capital Chisinau later. The protesters demanded government resignation and early parliamentary elections.

The authorities meanwhile decided to seize the initiative and put forward a number of proposals aimed at softening the pricing policy; fighting corruption and restoring law and order in the country. They announced price cuts for gas and fuel while Prime Minister Pavel Filip set a moratorium on checking businessmen.

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