On July 22, Minister of Internal Affairs Andrei Năstase requested that the Office of the Prosecutor General issues an arrest warrant for the former Democratic Party leader, Vlad Plahotniuc as well as an international search on charges of money laundering and state usurpation. A week earlier, the Moldovan Liberal Party and Prime Minister Maia Sandu submitted the same request. “Once he will be prosecuted, my colleagues will bring Plahotniuc to justice … He does not even suspect how quickly this will happen,” Năstase said.
Ion Costas, Former Minister of Defense
It’s possible. The people who need to know, are aware that Plahotniuc is somewhere in America. Will he be extradited or not? It depends. When asked if Plahotniuc has American protection, the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova answered: America has no obligation to Vlad Plahotniuc; if Moldova presents an official request and the U.S. Government finds the evidence conclusive, he may be extradited. Is there no evidence? There is plenty of evidence. We do need political will though. I think Plahotniuc attracted so much hatred against him and his team that there is no saving them. I think the Parliament will lift immunity for him and [Ilan] Shor, even if some socialists will try to avoid this because they are also involved in the bank fraud… Further on, it’s up to the Government, the Intelligence and Security Service and the Ministry of Interior to take action.
Valentina Sturza, Association of Former Deportees
Both Plahotniuc and Shor must be arrested and face trial for all their deeds, but it’s not only them. Everyone is talking about Plahotniuc and Shor now. But the others, what do we do with them? If we said we’re going to clean house, let’s do it because the thieves have multiplied. Moldova had cases of stolen money before too, but what they did surpassed all limits. They’re real bandits. There are no money for deportees’ compensations. Also, they have no money for pensions, salaries or other social needs, but they manage to steal billions. They must be brought to Moldova and face trial. They have no excuse. They knew what they were doing, so they should pay for it. I would make their trials public and broadcast them throughout the country. Let this serve as a lesson for others. I do not know if they will be caught and face justice. They should not have been allowed to leave. Now it will probably be harder to bring them back. Urgent measures should be taken.
Sergiu Musteata, Historian
People’s expectations are great. The problem is at the same time important for society for society and complicated. The Prosecutor’s Office should have intervened long ago. Its inaction is especially suspicious when there is plenty of evidence. Governments have been taken down and fundamental rights – restricted even in cases of suspicions. In this case, things have gone much further than that. The fact that the current Government has taken the initiative is good, but they should achieve their mission. I do not think these requests, whether coming from the Liberal Party, Maia Sandu or Andrei Năstase, are a matter of political PR, although there is always place for political interests in troublesome social issues. I do not think anybody wants to increase popularity based on such a problem. It would be inappropriate.
Nicolae Osmochescu, University Professor
Any official statement on the arrest and extradition of either Plahotniuc or Shor, regardless of who declared it, remains an empty statement unless it follows certain special procedures. First: a criminal record must be filed against the person in his country, which prescribes a three-year minimum term of punishment. Second: the case must reach Interpol. Then, they analyse the grounds for an international search warrant. The country of residence and their status (citizen, refugee, etc.) also makes a difference. And one more thing: a person can be extradited if there is a cooperation agreement on criminal matters between the Republic of Moldova and the country where he is located, expressing the commitment of the two states to extradite certain citizens. Both Plahotniuc and Shor know this very well. Shor is currently in Israel. He has Israeli citizenship, and Israel does not extradite its own citizens … Why am I saying all of this? For you to understand that this is not a simple issue: Shor and Plahotniuc may end up in jail, but they also may not.