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Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office closed the criminal case regarding privatization of the Press House and the former State Chancellery canteen

03 August 2020
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The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (ACPO) decided to end criminal investigation of the lease and alienation of the public company Casa Presei (Press House) and the former State Chancellery canteen since it has not identified any evidence that a crime has been committed. At the same time, the prosecutors found that a number of public officials involved in privatization procedures have “intentionally” gone beyond their duties at various stages of the process, being found guilty of excess of authority or abuse of power.

The criminal case investigating the privatization of 2,000 square meters of the Press House, the Government Canteen and a villa recognized as a historic monument below market value was started on July 9, 2019. Somewhat earlier RISE Moldova wrote that in early-2019 several pieces of government-owned real property in Chisinau ended up in private ownership at prices much below the market price. According to jurnal.md, the beneficiary in these arrangements was a relative of the democrats’ leader Pavel Filip. The latter denied the accusations.
A year after the case was started the prosecutors decided to close it. In one of its press releases the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office said that the investigations concerning “money laundering” have not revealed any illegal sources of the money which has been used by four companies to buy public goods.

As for the power abuse allegedly committed by several public officials during alienation of the real estate in question, the prosecutor found “lack of any actual and real (...) damage since, in this case, the counter value of the transaction was received, but, on the other hand, the sale contracts were terminated, bringing the parties back where they started, and the goods coming back into public ownership”.

Still, the prosecutors deemed that the public officials involved at various stages of the process had intentionally and clearly exceeded the legal limits of their powers. Thus, several persons were found guilty of excess of authority or abuse of power, including six members of the Direct Negotiations Commission for lease of unused assets of the Press House and the State Chancellery, six members of the Management Board of the public company Casa Presei and nine members of the Privatization Commission for non-residential leased premises which was created at the order of the Director of the Agency for Public Property.