The Case of Unrecognized Bribery in the Judiciary

The Case of Unrecognized Bribery in the Judiciary
01 June 2020 | 15:22

The case of over 75,000 euros (1.5 million lei) in bribes attributed to two prosecutors and three policemen shook the public opinion in January 2018. Ziarul de Gardă publishes several documents from the criminal case that show a possible involvement of Ruslan Popov, who at the time was the chief of the two state accusers and since December 2019 is Deputy Prosecutor General.

In a statement for ZdG, Popov claims he has nothing to do with the investigation featuring the two prosecutors. “I did not know of any illegal activities carried out by them,” says the Deputy Prosecutor General. However, the criminal case initiated in 2017 started to take a new turn particularly after General Prosecutor’s Office changed leadership, and immediately after the promotion of Popov as deputy head of the institution. The prosecutor who investigated the criminal case was forced to leave the system. And in March 2020 a disciplinary procedure was initiated on his name because he allegedly forced the parties to the case to admit their guilt and to file allegations and false statements regarding other employees of the Prosecutor’s Office with a higher rank status.

At the same time, one of the police officers in the case who admitted his guilt and had been convicted in February 2019, filed a request to the General Prosecutor’s Office to review the sentence, without contesting it, stating that he was forced to recognize his guilt. In 2019, during the examination of the criminal case in court, the police officer admitted to have obtained unlawfully the money and agreed to return it. In addition to the disciplinary procedure, a criminal case was opened to investigate the facts described by the police officer.

Throughout this process, the businessman who in 2018 denounced the prosecutors and police officers for soliciting bribes from his family, remained with more questions than answers. He hopes that the Prosecutor General will get involved and accept to explain to him what happened in his case and why the money was given and who took this money and, where the money went.

However, one of the prosecutors detained in January 2018 states that the bribe was neither claimed nor received. 

The businessman Anatolie Brașoveanu together with his family manages a prosperous company, Radeva-Grup, one of the largest glass and mirror factories in Moldova. In 2017, their company began to be prosecuted for alleged tax evasion. Masked men came up with searches, and Anatolie, together with his brother, the company’s administrator, were detained for 72 hours. Together with them, other people who managed companies that had contractual relations with Radeva Grup were detained. It happened in February 2017.

Brașoveanu relates that on February 12, 2017, he was at the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office, Ciocana office, and prosecutors Roman Clim and Evghenii Tifoi would have asked 200,000 euros to release them and to shelve the criminal case opened for tax evasion. Following negotiations they accepted and received 75,000 euros. Anatolie Brașoveanu  states that 60,000 euros were brought by a relative from a commercial bank, while 10,000 euros and 6,000 dollars were raised from their company, following the searches.

Anatolie Brașoveanu, businessman

“We had an agreement with Clim Roman when I transmitted the money. We transmit this amount, whereas he undertakes, you know… according to the formula. We should have said goodbye, and forget each other as if we never knew each other. An hour later, as soon as he took the money, he tells me I have to get to the office and admit my guilt. But what to admit? ” says the businessman.

Somehow, we gave this money following the threats.”

Anatolie Brașoveanu claims that he and his family agreed to give the money solicited by law enforcement officers because they feared that their business was at risk if they remained in custody for longer, even if they did not consider themselves guilty. “I was not guilty. Prosecutors Clim and Tifoi threatened us that the company will cease its activity. At the same time, they threatened harm to personal things and family. Somehow, we gave this money following the threats,” the man claims. They were released only the next day, through the court. The businessmen are at large, but the criminal case featuring them was not closed, as it was initially promised.

Prosecutor in the Ciocana Prosecutor’s Office, suspended

In July 2017, Anatolie decided to go to the National Anticorruption Center and the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office for justice. In the complaint, he reported the circumstances of the case. His family members later did the same, describing in detail how they brought the money, where and to whom they transmitted it. Shortly afterwards, a criminal case was opened, based on his testimony.

The case becomes public. Two prosecutors and three police officers are detained.

In January 2018, after several months of investigation, the case reported by Anatolie Brașoveanu became public, and the society learned about one of the biggest uncovered bribes in the history of justice in Moldova. The prosecutors Roman Clim and Evghenii Tifoi, both from the Ciocana Office of the Chisinău Prosecutor’s Office, two police officers, Valentin Samoil and Sergiu Stângaci, as well as Octavian Busuioc, a resigned police officer, were detained because they extorted over 75,000 euros (1.5 million lei) in bribes.

Evghenii Tifoi, a prosecutor, Ciocana Prosecutor’s Office, suspended from office

The Prosecutor’s Office issued a press release stating that the prosecutors, together with a senior criminal investigation officer from the Ciocana Police Inspectorate, and an investigating officer from the Directorate No. 3 of the General Police Inspectorate, as well as a civilian, former police officer, extorted and received from the representatives of a company, investigated for tax evasion, the amount of 6,000 dollars and 70,000 euros (equivalent to 1.5 million lei), the initial solicited sum was 200,000 euros. “For this amount, prosecutors and criminal investigation officers were to terminate their case and end the criminal prosecution of the three businessmen,” the Office of the Prosecutor General announced.

“After receiving part of the alleged amount, the prosecutors, in agreement with the police, ‘arranged’ the release of the three businessmen from ‘pre-trial detention’ – ‘under judicial control’ and returned some of the objects and documents seized during the search. Subsequently, as there was not established any reasonable suspicion that the managers of the company committed the crime of tax evasion, the prosecutors, together with the police, recommended that the three confess their guilt, and that their deeds be reclassified as ‘forgery’, which the businessmen rejected, the  Office of the Prosecutor General specified in the same press release.

Shortly afterwards, the General Prosecutor’s Office announced that they were under prosecution. 

The case featuring the prosecutors has not yet been sent to court. The Prosecutor’s Office checks for possible forgeries in the case.

For two and a half years, the case of the two prosecutors detained in January 2018 has been deferred. Moreover, a criminal case has been initiated to investigate the alleged irregularities admitted in the criminal investigation by the prosecutor and the officers who investigated the bribery case and, in consequence, the criminal case could be closed.

On May 23, the Office of the Prosecutor General announced in a press release that they conducted searches in a criminal case started on forgery of evidence, coercion to make statements by the person ascertaining the crime, the criminal investigation officer and the prosecutor, events dating back to 2017-2018.

“These criminal prosecution actions aimed at accumulating evidence and the need to establish the truth. Thus, in order to ensure the intact character of the raised objects, and based on the decision of the investigating judge, they moved to the site. In consequence, it was decided to remove the service computers and electronic media carrying information, which the public officers used to commit the investigated deed. As a result, they raised four computers and information on seven USBs from the headquarters of the targeted institutions,” announced  the Office of the Prosecutor General.

“I hope, with your help, to be heard by the Prosecutor General.”

Anatolie Brașoveanu states that he does not understand the purpose of the searches, which would question the legitimacy of the facts in the criminal case in which he appears as an injured party. He hopes that Alexandr Stoianoglo, the Prosecutor General, will get involved and accept “to be explained what happened in our case and why the money was given, and who took this money, and, my assumptions where the money went. I strongly believe that the Prosecutor General will not allow the business to be affected by corrupt prosecutors and we will live without fear. I hope, with your help, to be heard by the Prosecutor General,” says Anatolie Brașoveanu.

The businessman states that he was last informed about the evolution of this criminal case in September 2019, when he was invited by the prosecutor Mihail Ivanov to get acquainted with the evidence in the case prepared to be sent to court. “With the prosecutor’s permission, I made a copy of the evidence in the case. Since then, I have not been contacted regarding the given case,” says Brașoveanu. He states that all the testimonies and documents in the case accurately confirm the course of events and demonstrate the act of corruption.

“I’m ready to undergo, together with Clim, a polygraph test.”

“The National Anticorruption Center carried out all the actions. There, in repeated discussions with Clim, when I admonished him for the 75,000 euros he received to shelve the case and, in general, to destroy this case, he tacitly acknowledged it and he never denied the fact. Eyes down, he would tell me, well, we’ll decide, we’ll see. That was somewhere in the summer and he kept telling me, wait, the boss would come from vacation and he would avoid giving me information, whether the case will be closed,” states Brașoveanu, who has not yet received back all the money that will have been extorted from him.

“Clim took the money, and we have to ask him what he did with it. I am ready to undergo, together with Clim, a polygraph test as well as go to your newsroom, where we can answer all the questions, both Clim and I, the same questions,” suggests Anatolie Brașoveanu.

“Probably, the criminal investigation had to be completed sooner.”

Mihail Ivanov, the prosecutor who investigated the criminal case, claims that he did not do anything illegal in the criminal investigation on the prosecutors’ case, and his only regret is that he did not send the case to court earlier, although the criminal investigation was completed early in 2019.

Mihail Ivanov, former prosecutor at the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office

“The criminal investigation was completed in January 2019. First, the criminal case featuring Busuioc was sent to court. We were to see its finality. The sentence was issued on February 1, 2019; then 30 days – for motivation. Then, Roman Clim’s mother died and he requested the postponement, for a period, of the presentation of the materials. There was no procedural reason to postpone the presentation of the materials of the criminal investigation for a month or a month and a half. However, for certain reasons, probably humane, as he was a former colleague, I agreed to postpone it. Probably, the criminal investigation had to be completed sooner,” claims prosecutor Mihail Ivanov.

“After Ruslan Popov’s coming to office, certain pressures began.”

The prosecutor states that the case of over 75,000 euros (1.5 million lei) in bribes for the two prosecutors and for the police officers took a new turn after Ruslan Popov, the prosecutor who headed the Ciocana Office of the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office when the criminal case was initiated, came to the Office of the Prosecutor General as Deputy Prosecutor General. Popov was designated Deputy Prosecutor General on December 6, 2019, shortly after the appointment of Alexandr Stoianoglo as Prosecutor General.

“After Ruslan Popov came to Office (as Deputy Prosecutor General, ed. note), pressures began. Through various people, acquaintances from the prosecutor’s office or lawyers, I was suggested to resign, otherwise there will be serious consequences. Once the criminal case was taken under control, it returned without objections. After that, as the public opinion knows, they searched my office; it was because of this criminal case. The offices of the criminal investigation officer and the investigation officer were searched too, which is an absolutely reprehensible fact,” states Mihail Ivanov.

Three elements in which Ruslan Popov is targeted.

Several documents analyzed by ZdG show that there are several elements in the criminal case opened in July 2017 that feature Ruslan Popov, currently Deputy Prosecutor General, then head of the Ciocana Office of the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office. 

The operational analysis of the telephone connections of the accomplices in the criminal case shows that prosecutors Evghenii Tifoi, Roman Clim and Ruslan Popov talked several times over the phone during the Brașoveanu brothers’ detention, negotiating their release.

The same data show that, on February 12, 2017, when the money was extorted from the Brașoveanu brothers to be released from criminal punishment, the two prosecutors were in Mileștii Mici, Ialoveni district, the center of Moldova, where Ruslan Popov lives.

Thus, on February 12, 2017, between 13.07 – 13.41 and 16.14 – 16.22, Roman Clim used the cells entitled “3G Mileștii Mici”, which, according to the data of the mobile phone operator, are served by the mobile phone station located in Chișinău, Mileștii Mici village.

At the same time, on the same day, on February 12, 2017, between 13.07 and 13.48, Evghenii Tifoi also used the cells entitled “3G Mileștii Mici”. Prosecutor Ruslan Popov lives in this locality, and ZdG wrote about his house back in 2013.

In a deciphering of the discussion between Anatolie Brașoveanu and Roman Clim, held on August 1, 2017 in front of the Chișinău Court, Ciocana office, Clim states that in order to make a final decision on the case, he must wait for Ruslan Popov, the head of the Ciocana Office of the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office to return from leave. The same documents show that prosecutor Ruslan Popov was on leave during July 10 – August 4, 2017, the period referred to by prosecutor Roman Clim.

Below is an excerpt from the discussion between Anatolie Brașoveanu and prosecutor Roman Clim, recorded by Brașoveanu and annexed to the criminal case:

Brașoveanu: Well, how do we do it, how do we settle the question? I can’t wait any longer…

Tolea, let’s try after the August 10, our boss must get back from leave.

Brașoveanu: Is it not possible to simply close the case, so that I haven’t any conviction, right? I don’t want any more, just not to have sentences, papers, do what you want with those papers, set fire to them, whatever…

“Prosecutor Clim told me personally that he must go to Milești.”

Ruslan Popov’s name appears in a May 2018 report of an additional hearing of Anatolie Brașoveanu, who has the status of a civil party in the case.

“While in the office of the two prosecutors, I asked them why they solicited such large sums for our release. The prosecutor Roman Clim told me he had to consult someone. I remember that, getting out into the corridor, prosecutor Clim told someone that he was going to Milești; I cannot say with certainty who exactly he talked to. I didn’t know why he had to go there, I didn’t pay attention to it. When they returned from Milești, after a short period of time, I went back to their office and then the prosecutor Roman Clim told me that our release will cost 100,000 euros,” said Anatolie Brașoveanu during the additional hearing.

The businessman maintains his statements made during the criminal investigation. He says he has other evidence of Ruslan Popov’s involvement in the case.

“Prosecutor Clim told me personally that he had to go to Milești. I don’t know what he had to do there. I did not know what was in Milești and why he said it, but he said it and there were witnesses who heard when he said that he was going to Milești. After that, he came back and we continued the negotiations. I assume that Ruslan Popov does not want the case to go to trial,” says Brașoveanu.

Why was Ruslan Popov not summoned in that case, if there was information and testimonies?

“He was not summoned because, according to the law on the Prosecutor’s Office, the criminal investigation against a prosecutor is initiated only by the Prosecutor General and in the absence of such an ordinance, we, as prosecutors, cannot carry out criminal prosecution targeting other prosecutors. In the case of Clim and Tifoi there was such an ordinance. Then, for reasons unclear to me, it was decided not to start the criminal investigation. I cannot comment on other details in this regard, because I was not the one to issue the decision,” says Mihail Ivanov, the prosecutor who managed the criminal investigation.

The first conviction in the case. 

ZdG wrote about this case from the beginning and monitored it during the two and a half years since it was made public. A few months after the detention of the five law enforcement officers, Sergiu Stângaci was removed from criminal prosecution, as there was found no evidence of his guilt in the case. The criminal investigation targeting the two prosecutors and two police officers continued. The cases of the four evolved differently, and the cases of the two state accusers are still pending.

The case of Valentin Samoil, deputy head of  Organized Crime Directorate no. 2 of the National Investigation Inspectorate, went to court first. The case was separated from the basic criminal case and sent to court, after the policeman admitted his guilt. He entered into an agreement with Mihail Ivanov, the anti-corruption prosecutor who ran the case, to plead guilty.

In court, the case was examined in a special procedure, after eight hearings. Samoil was tried for trafficking in influence and was sentenced to a criminal fine of around 5,000 euros (90,000 lei), after magistrate Ghenadie Plămădeală found that his guilt had been proven. The sentence was pronounced in December 2018 and Valentin Samoil did not contest it.

The second policeman in the case was convicted, after pleading guilty.

Shortly afterwards, another criminal case was submitted to the court, which was also separated from the main criminal case, and Octavian Busuioc was also sent to court. He also pleaded guilty and his criminal case was tried in a separate proceeding. On February 1, 2019, judge Ion Morozan from the Chișinău Court, Buiucani headquarters, pronounced the sentence for Octavian Busuioc. The court sentenced the police officer to four years in prison in a semi-closed penitentiary, but suspended his execution for a probation period of five years. At the same time, Busuioc was to pay a criminal fine of around 6,000 euros (115 000 lei).

ZdG previously wrote that Octavian Busuioc’s sentence includes the circumstances of the criminal case that led to the detention of the three police officers and the prosecutors Roman Clim and Evghenii Tifoi. In the court hearing, among other details, Octavian Busuioc told how he received a package with 5,000 euros from the prosecutor Clim.

“While smoking in front of the Prosecutor’s Office, Clim Roman told him that the brothers (Braşoveanu, ed.note) gave some money that night and he had to be patient, he will receive his share soon. A few days later, in the same way (Viber, ed.note), he was called by Clim, who invited him again to the Prosecutor’s Office. Thus, in front of the Prosecutor’s Office, he gave him a white envelope, which he put in his pocket. Clim told him that it was from the criminal case Radeva-Grup. When he got into the car, he took the envelope out of his pocket, opened it and counted the foreign currency, there were 5,000 euros in banknotes with a face value of 500 euros,” it is mentioned in the sentence of Octavian Busuioc with reference to the statements made by him in court.

Like Valentin Samoilă, Octavian Busuioc did not appeal the sentence of the first instance, so it became final and irrevocable.

“He gave me 5,000 euros back.”

Anatolie Brașoveanu states that Octavian Busuioc returned “5,000 euros from the money he had transmitted to Clim Roman for the case of tax evasion. I assume that Clim Roman did not take money from home to thank Octavian Busuioc, and Busuioc recognized this money and returned it to me. I was in court as a civil party and he gave this money, 5,000 euros, back to me, “ Brașoveanu reports.

He claims that Busuioc was involved in initiating the criminal case for tax evasion on his company, as he was collaborating with a company competing with Radeva-Grup. Meanwhile, in April 2019, the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office closed the criminal case opened in 2017 for an alleged tax evasion on the company Radeva-Grup, due to lack of evidence. 

The prosecutor Mihail Ivanov confirmed that Octavian Busuioc returned the money he received unlawfully; he claims that Busuioc returned the money to the other persons targeted in cases initiated on the companies with which Radeva-Grup had contractual relations. “The sentence was not contested. Moreover, he repaid the full damage to the three injured parties,” points out Ivanov.

A new criminal case investigates the officers and prosecutors who managed the case of the Ciocana prosecutors.

At the beginning of 2020, Octavian Busuioc submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor General an appeal requesting a review of the sentence. It happens almost a year after the Chișinău Court issued the sentence on his name and he did not contest it. In March 2020, a disciplinary procedure was initiated against prosecutor Ivanov. Shortly afterwards, a criminal case was opened for “falsifying evidence in criminal proceedings by the person conducting the criminal investigation or prosecutor, as well as of coercion to make statements, to conclude a plea agreement by the person ascertaining the crime, the criminal investigation officer, the prosecutor.”

The criminal case was initiated after prosecutors Tifoi and Clim filed a request claiming that in the criminal investigation their request to carry out all possible criminal prosecution actions to establish the truth had been neglected.

At the same time, prosecutor Tifoi submitted a request stating that he was tracked until the start of the criminal investigation, but such materials are missing from the criminal case. He believes that they could be in the computers and electronic information carriers of the prosecutor Ivanov and of the officers who carried out criminal prosecution actions on the case, Sergiu Ganța and Doina Pleşca.

A criminal case, and disciplinary proceedings against the case prosecutor.

The criminal case that features prosecutor Ivanov started on March 11, 2020. On March 13, a disciplinary procedure was initiated against him. The state prosecutor is under investigation for the fact that, “he imposed psychological pressure on prosecutors Clim Roman, Tifoi Evghenii and investigating officer Octavian Busuioc by applying licentious language, threats of initiating other criminal cases, unfounded extension of the term of preventive arrest, criminal conviction and execution of imprisonment;  in addition, he forced them to file allegations and false statements regarding other employees with higher rank status within the Prosecutor’s Office regarding their involvement in the imputed criminal acts.”

The disciplinary procedure refers to a meeting on the evening of March 27, 2018 when prosecutor Ivanov met Octavian Busuioc and Roman Clim, who were allegedly taken out of their cells and taken to the criminal investigation office inside the isolator, “where by psychological coercion and threat of illegal acts” they would have been requested to conclude the plea agreements.

Following this, Octavian Busuioc allegedly signed with the prosecutor a plea agreement for three episodes of trafficking in influence and prosecution of Clim and Tifoi for committing crimes of passive corruption.

“It is very strange that Octavian Busuioc’s complaints come only after Ruslan Popov becomes deputy head of the Office of the Prosecutor General.”

Prosecutor Ivanov considers that the criminal case opened in March 2020 for alleged forgery in the criminal case would aim to review Octavian Busuioc’s sentence and, subsequently, to remove the two prosecutors from criminal prosecution.

“As far as I understand, I am now accused of falsifying certain evidence in criminal proceedings… I consider that these actions are carried out because the sentence regarding Busuioc Octavian is final, it cannot be subject to appeals, except for extraordinary appeals. Respectively, in order to request the review, it is necessary to prove that someone of the prosecutors or prosecuting officers committed acts of forgery or coercion, the cases being related to each other. From what I understand, I am suspected, let’s say, of coercing Octavian Busuioc to admit guilt, an absolutely unimaginable fact. It is very strange that these complaints of Octavian Busuioc come only after Ruslan Popov becomes deputy head of the Office of the Prosecutor General. So far, there has been no … He did not even contest the sentence, especially since he even repaid the damage of the injured parties,” claims Mihail Ivanov.

“We will insure a fair investigation of the case. You have my word.”

Ion Caracuian, interim head of the Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS), the institution that manages the criminal case opened in March 2020 for forgery and coercion to give statements, and investigates the actions of prosecutors and officers who managed the criminal case in which the prosecutors from the Ciocana Office are targeted, claims that there are no outside influences in the management of the case.

“You can affirm with certainty that Mr Popov did not influence the prosecutor for special missions and does not influence the PCCOCS prosecutor who is examining this case. I can only answer for the prosecutor examining the PCCOCS case that he does not have and cannot have influence. As for the prosecutor for special missions, I told you what the regulation says. The regulation does not allow a Deputy Prosecutor General to give tasks or set any objectives to the prosecutors for special missions,” states Caracuian.

Caracuian claims that the case investigated by the institution he runs will not decisively influence the criminal case featuring the two prosecutors from Ciocana. He says prosecutor Ivanov should not worry if he did not commit illegalities in the criminal case he handled.

“If it is established with certainty that all the evidence accumulated on a case is falsified, it is inevitably declared null or void. If only five percent of the evidence or 20 percent of the evidence has been falsified in a case, the other margin of evidence shall be entitled to existence. It matters how much evidence has been falsified. If Ivanov is aware and knows that he forged the whole case, he should come to make a self-denunciation. If he has nothing to hide, it means he has no fears and should not have them. We will insure a fair investigation of the case. You have my word,” concludes Ion Caracuian.

“Statements given by the detainee are not recognized because the detainee was under pressure.”

The Office of the Prosecutor General representatives confirmed for ZdG that the institution received Octavian Busuioc’s request to review his sentence and that a decision is to be taken. Requested by ZdG, Octavian Busuioc avoided discussing, in detail, the circumstances of the criminal case in which he appeared, as well as about the request for review submitted one year after he was convicted, despite the fact that he did not contest the sentence then.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t really want to talk about it… I avoid commenting, to avoid misinterpretation,” Busuioc told us. However, he noted that there was “definitely” no connection between the fact that Ruslan Popov had meanwhile become Deputy Prosecutor General and his request for a review of the sentence.

“Was it not last summer that the Parliament voted the statement that it was a captured rule of law? Of course that motivated me. If you browse the internet for everything related to the statements given by the detainee, they are generally not recognized, because they are obtained by pressure,” Busuioc argued in the request for review, submitted one year after the sentence was issued.

Asked if pressure was exerted on him while he was in custody, in order to admit his guilt, Busuioc specified, “Can it be different if there are three months of detention without motivation? Moreover, when those who filed a complaint and their case stopped and the investigative group was blamed … I think the Prosecutor’s Office will issue a press release. It is not in vain that certain actions have been taken. That is why I will avoid making any comments,” concluded Octavian Busuioc.

“They decided to squeeze information from them in an attempt to put me in my place.”

Ruslan Popov, the Deputy Prosecutor General, claims that he has no involvement in over 75,000 euros (1.5 million lei) bribery case, nor in the criminal case started in 2020 in which the prosecutor and the officers who investigated that case are targeted.

“I declare in full responsibility that I have nothing to do with the cases investigating Tifoi and Clim. I did not know of any illegal activities they did. I am convinced that, while they were under arrest, Mr. Morari, together with his godson Mihai Ivanov, who was in his direct subordination and thus, in conflicts of interest, decided to squeeze information from them in an attempt to put me in my place,” Popov claims.

Popov gives assurances that he will not have been involved in the examination of the complaints filed by his former subordinates, complaints that led to the initiation of the criminal case featuring persons who managed the prosecutors’ case from Ciocana Office.

“Tifoi’s and Clim’s previous complaints have never been objectively examined. As far as I know, they were ultimately examined by a special mission prosecutor of the General Prosecutor’s Office, who found multiple procedural violations, including forgeries, that had not been investigated before. A criminal investigation was initiated on these facts, which was given to the PCCOCS. I am not aware of what is happening there, what they are doing, how they are doing. Nobody informs me, because it is not my activity segment and there is no point in getting involved, because this thing would give suspicions of an irregular involvement,” says Popov.

Ruslan Popov denies the documents in the case and claims that prosecutor Tifoi was never in Mileștii Mici. He admits that the other prosecutor in the case has been to his house several times, but he does not remember the period.

“Mr. Tifoi has never been to Mileștii Mici; Roman Clim, however, took my children home a few times, when I was not able to. I asked him as my colleague. I don’t remember if that was in February, in January, in August. I can’t say now if anyone was with me on February 12 or not. Certainly, during the detentions, I did not communicate with them on that subject,” Popov claims.

The Deputy Prosecutor General considers that this case, as well as the recent actions of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office regarding him contain elements of revenge by former head of the institution Viorel Morari. The misunderstandings will have appeared in 2013, after he replaced him at the head of the institution.

“Then, the Prosecutor General  Pântea delegated Mr. Morari to a territorial prosecutor’s office for multiple violations admitted. When he came out of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office he told me, remember that I will return here and then I will answer you back. I asked him what I had to do with the given situation, it was the Prosecutor General who decided, not me…. Also in that period, his godson Mihai Ivanov was delegated to another territorial prosecutor’s office. Since then, they have been fighting and trying to take revenge. In 2013, after they returned, due to the political changes, the criminal investigation was started on me, when I tried to run for the position of chief anti-corruption prosecutor. Because I did not declare the house that had already been declared in the declaration for the previous year. It took them exactly a month to pick up a statement from the National Integrity Agency to establish that there is a statement at the Agency, at the Cadastre, and at the Tax Office, and everywhere. After they took me out of the contest, after they mocked at my professional career, then they closed the procedure. Later they worked against all the prosecutors and policemen from Ciocana to somehow reach me again,” accuses Ruslan Popov. 

Contacted repeatedly for a reaction to Ruslan Popov’s accusations, prosecutor Mihail Ivanov mentioned: “In 2013, Mr. Pântea delegated me, not Ruslan Popov. Popov had nothing to do with it. We were on good terms then. I am surprised by Popov’s version. Ask him if in 2015 we met at a mall with families and if he invited my wife and me to serve a bottle of wine. Ask him if he kept telephoning me when he was prosecutor at Ciocana. You may ask if he invited me to his office during the search of the office of prosecutors Clim and Tifoi,  ask him what he told me then. According to his logic, should I understand that I have six disciplinary proceedings and a criminal case since he came to the head of the the Office of the Prosecutor General because I still want revenge? Ask him why he left the Ciocana Prosecutor’s Office?” Ivanov said, referring to the fact that in August 2018, seven months after the case regarding Clim and Tifoi prosecutors became public, Ruslan Popov left the position of head of the Ciocana Office of the Chișinău Prosecutor’s Office to work at the General Prosecutor’s Office.

“I found out from ZdG about the case handled by Ivanov.”

Prosecutor Evghenii Tifoi, one of the two state accusers detained in January 2018, recently filed a request with the Office of the Prosecutor General too. He complained that he had been tracked before a criminal case was officially opened in his name. At the same time, he complained that in 2018 he requested several criminal prosecution actions which have not been carried out. Evghenii Tifoi says his requests to the Office of the Prosecutor General have nothing to do with the fact that his former superior, Ruslan Popov, has meanwhile become Deputy Prosecutor General.

“I found out about the 2020 case from Ziarul de Gardă. I have been complaining since 2018, when Mr. Ivanov started mocking at me. Ask Mr. Ivanov why there was no objective investigation of the case. I have nothing to do with anyone. I don’t communicate with anyone. I have no connection with Mr. Popov. I also found out from Ziarul de Gardă about the case that Mr. Ivanov handled and from there I also learned about his intentions towards us. Since 2018, I asked Mr. Ivanov to do some actions and I don’t know what he did and what interests he had in this case,” accuses Tifoi.

“I tell you honestly, they mocked at me, at my activity.”

The prosecutor denies that he went to Mileștii Mici, where Ruslan Popov lived, on the day when the businessmen from the Radeva-Grup case were detained.

“I was not at Mr. Popov’s place, neither on the 12th  nor on the 11th. I have no common affairs with him, except that he was my superior. I don’t know how they made the connection, ask Mr. Brașoveanu for he must be responsible for all the evidence. I tell you: I have never been to Mileștii Mici. You may ask them where they got this information from, how legal the information is, and what its purpose is. What do you think was the purpose of the informer? To get rid of the criminal case. What do you think of it, an accused writes a complaint on me which results in taking me into custody and then they get rid of the criminal case? If they claim that they gave us the money half a year ago, why didn’t they notify the criminal investigation bodies for half a year? I did not commit any crime. I tell you honestly, they mocked at me, at my work,” the prosecutor complains.

“I am shocked by what happened. I did not claim nor receive anything. I have nothing to do with it, just as you have nothing to do. Please ask Mr. Ivanov, for I do not communicate with him, why he had such an attitude towards me,” says Evghenii Tifoi.

The state prosecutor also claims that there is no evidence in the case that could prove his guilt and that he was detained without motivation for several months. “I got acquainted with the criminal case in which I was accused. I was shocked. There is no evidence against me other than Brașoveanu’s statements. Ask the prosecutor how he managed to detain me for four months, just because my wife has a Romanian passport. I was kept at home for three months. What was Mr. Ivanov’s purpose to keep me locked? The fact that my wife has a Romanian passport… Could I run away with my wife’s passport?” says Tifoi.

As for the accusations against Tifoi Evghenii, prosecutor Ivanov claims, “there is enough evidence in the case to prove the involvement of Tifoi Evghenii in committing the criminal act. The extorted money was transmitted in his presence. The Chișinău Court of Appeal verified the legality of the application of preventive measures, the procedure regarding prosecutor Tifoi was not different from the procedure applied to other officials. Moreover, there are people who have been under preventive measures for long periods for much smaller amounts of money. The criminal case presented high interest and was under the control of the then Prosecutor General,” claims Mihail Ivanov.

Prosecutor Roman Clim did not answer ZdG’s calls and messages with the request to discuss this case. ZdG will follow the evolution of these cases.

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Marking the International Youth Day

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