CHISINAU, December 2. /TASS/. The United States gave shelter to former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova Vladimir Plahotniuc in order to influence Moldova’s polities with his help, President Igor Dodon told TASS on Monday.
"Those who helped Plahotniuc to flee counted at minimum on his control over the Democratic Party. He pledged to ensure support for the pro-European government of Sandu [Prime Minister Maia Sandu — TASS] and prevent the strengthening of the Socialists, who are carrying out a balanced foreign policy in the interests of the country," Dodon said.
According to him, plans were also to use the fugitive oligarch "in fight against Russia, that he had repeatedly staged provocations against over the recent years on orders from outside." The president reiterated that Russian diplomats, journalists and politicians had seen expulsions from Moldova during the rule of the Plahotniuc-led Democratic Party, and restrictions had been imposed on Russian media outlets, while officials had been banned from visiting Russia.
"However, those who have sheltered him, seem to understand that they will hardly need him any longer. The new leadership of the Democratic Party is distancing itself from the oligarch with a trail of negativity behind him — recently some of his closest associates were required to hand over their parliamentary mandates," Dodon stated.
US Ambassador to Moldova Dereck Hogan said last week that the tycoon fled on June 14 after a conversation with him, when he was told that he had been left without Washington’s support. At the same time, the US diplomat pointed out that Moldova had not requested the US to extradite the oligarch. He added that he had discussed the issue with the government of former Prime Minister Maia Sandu, but no official request has come as of yet.
In June, the Socialists supporting Dodon and the pro-European bloc ACUM teamed up against Plahotniuc, who had been accused of corruption and usurping the power. However, the Democrats refused to go into the opposition, declaring the parliament and the new Cabinet unlawful, and organizing rallies of their supporters who blocked state offices.
However, they had to surrender power after the new leadership was backed by the European Union, Russia and the US. Plahotniuc is said to have fled Moldova to the US via Ukraine after the conversation with the US ambassador, and now he lives in his house in Miami.
Criminal cases were opened against the oligarch in Moldova and he was put on the international wanted list. In Russia, he is also accused of contraband and drug dealing on an especially large scale. Besides, he is suspected of money laundering, attempted murders and other crimes. He has been arrested in absentia under rulings of Moscow courts.