A former Moldovan leader and critic of the country's pro-EU leadership has been detained.
The anti-EU former Moldovan President Igor Dodon is now facing four criminal charges, according to his lawyer, who said on Wednesday that he was detained on charges of passive corruption, illegal financing of political parties and illicit enrichment. They include corruption and treason.
The country's anti-corruption authority revealed that Dodon, who ran the country from 2016 -- 2020, was arrested for 72 hours the country's anti-corruption authority revealed. The treason charge appears to have been added later.
He was charged with four counts, including corruption and treason, by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office today, his counsel Maxim Lebedinsky told the Sputnik news agency.
His opposition Party of Socialists accused the pro-EU Action and Solidarity faction, along with the current Western-backed Moldovan President, Maia Sandu, of trying to intimidate political opponents and establish a dictatorship in the Republic of Moldova. TASS reported that the detention period for Dodon and an unnamed second suspect could be extended.
A judiciary spokeswoman was quoted as saying that the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office sent a request to arrest ex-president Igor Dodon and another detainee for a period of 30 days.
She revealed that the requests would be considered by the Chisinau District Court on Thursday.
Dodon denied all accusations, saying that he has become a target of political and orchestrated justice. He said he has the necessary explanations that remove any suspicion of corruption and violation of the law. The charges are linked to the so-called bag case, according to a statement by the prosecutor's office. Video from 2019 from the office of the Democratic Party of Moldova showed businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc, who had headed the party, giving Dodon a bag, presumably with money. The president told Plahotniuc to give it to another person instead of taking the bag. The two men's conversation revealed that the funds were intended to finance Dodon's Party of Socialists PSRM The video was released in 2020, but at the time prosecutors decided not to initiate a criminal case, citing insufficient evidence. Recordings made without the consent of a prosecutor and without the participation of law enforcement are not considered evidence in court under Moldovan law. The criminal investigation was ordered by interim General Prosecutor Dumitru Robu last week.
During the search of ten buildings and three cars, the authorities said significant amounts of money and luxury items were seized.
One of the persons tried to destroy the documents found at home, which confirmed the sale-purchase transactions of real estate worth about 700,000 euros, the authority claimed in a statement.
According to the media reports, the person who tried to destroy the evidence was Dodon's brother-in- law Petru Merineanu, who is reportedly the second person detained along with the former president.
The Party of Socialists, which is considered pro-Russian, has already organized protests in Chisinau and plans to hold more on Thursday after Dodon's arrest.
The PSRM demands the release of the ex-president of the country, Igor Dodon, and the termination of criminal cases fabricated by order, the party said in a statement.
Moscow is concerned that such practices and persecution are being used against supporters of the development of friendly, mutually beneficial relations with the Russian Federation, according to Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman who spoke about Dodon's detention. He stressed that it is an internal matter for Moldova.