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Gazeta Prawna: Moldova is withdrawing from the charges against Kozlovska

A prosecutor from Gagauzia with a colourful curriculum vitae closed the investigation against the head of ODF.

The investigation was launched in 2018 at the initiative of the Democratic Party (PD), which was curated by oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc. At the time, Lyudmyla Kozlovska was accused of illegally financing the Moldovan opposition, espionage and money laundering. As Moldovan Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo stated in an interview with NewsMaker, there is suspicion that the proceedings were illegal and politically motivated. A team has been set up at the prosecutor’s office to explain who exactly was behind the order for Kozlovska.

Interestingly, the prosecutor himself, who comes from the Gagaussic Comrade, was associated with the Democratic Party (PD) for years. From September 2009 to November 2010, he was deputy head of parliament at a time when the Prime Minister was Vlad Filat, involved in corruption scandals, but considered to be pro-Western and in conflict with Plahotniuk.

In 2015, there were recordings of Filat having sex with a well-known Moldovan journalist. Behind the tapes was Plahotniuc, formerly associated with the pimping industry and specializing in such blackmailing. According to DGP information, one of the tapes (not yet published) was to be made during Filat’s official delegation to Warsaw in autumn 2012. The plane, on which he flew for meetings with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bronisław Komorowski, did not belong to the government fleet, but was chartered from a company associated with Plahotniuk. The recording scandal was the beginning of the end of Filat’s career. Eventually, he was plunged by accusations of participating in the removal of huge sums of money from the Moldovan Banca de Economia.

Another enemy of the Plahotniuk and his PD in autumn 2018 was Kozlovska. The offensive against the head of the foundation in Moldova began shortly after the Polish authorities entered her into the list of persons banned from the Schengen area in August of the same year. Democrats used her troubles in Poland to set up a parliamentary committee of inquiry. The result was a report – described in detail by DGP – in which she was accused of money laundering and financing the pro-Western opposition. One of its leaders at the time was Maia Sandu (after Plahotniuc lost influence and fled Moldova last spring, Sandu held the post of prime minister from June to November 2019).

As we have shown in the DGP material of June 2019, the report of the Committee of Inquiry was a patchwork of anecdotal information. It argued, among other things, that the illegal financing of Moldovan parties were airline tickets for a conference in Brussels, which the Open Dialog Foundation sponsored for representatives of Sandu’s group. During the writing of the report, the Moldovan secret service, controlled by Plahotniuc, suggested, as did the right-wing press in Poland, links between Kozłowska and Russian intelligence. However, no convincing material was presented in this case.

Also in Poland the Voivodeship Administrative Court questioned the data submitted by the Internal Security Agency, on the basis of which Kozlovska was entered into SIS (EU list of persons prohibited from entering the Schengen area).

In turn, the Belgian authorities decided last June to grant EU resident status to Kozlovska, which meant an automatic deletion from the SIS. The decision to grant such status was taken after consulting the Belgian equivalent of the Polish ABW (Internal Security Agency) and SKW (Military Counterintelligence Service) – the state security agency VSSE (Veiligheid van de Staat or Sûreté de l’État) and the military intelligence and security service ADIV/SGRS (Algemene Dienst Inlichting en Veiligheid or Service Général du Renseignement et de la Sécurité), which is responsible, i.a., for counter-espionage protection of NATO headquarters.

The Prosecutor General, who closed the investigation against Kozlovska in Moldova, is a colourful figure. Alexandr Stoianoglo has run twice (in 2006 and 2015), unsuccessfully, for the position of Bashkan (governor) of Gagauzia, an autonomous region in Moldova. In February 2014, he held an illegal referendum, in which the people of Moldova voted for the declaration of “independence should Moldova lose its sovereignty” and for joining the customs union created by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. This took place just before the annexation of Crimea. Stoianoglo said in an interview with the Romanian daily Adevărul that he “respects the decision of the Gagaan people” but “does not recognise it”. In the parliamentary elections in autumn 2014, he was not on the electoral lists of the Plahotniuk’s PD and at the beginning of 2015 he left the group to fight for the position of Bashkan. He won less than 5% of the votes and in the same year he became involved in cooperation with the Crisis Management Initiative Martti Ahtisaari Centre (CMIMAC) in Helsinki, which in 2014 organised informal communication channels between separatists in Donbass and the authorities in Kiev. CMIMAC was also involved in talks to settle the conflict over the separatist status of Transnistria, which broke away from Moldova in 1990.

Stoianoglo has been Attorney General since November 2019. At that time, the pro-European Mai Sandu was replaced by Ion Chicu, who is supported by the considered to be pro-Russian Socialist Party of President Igor Dodon and remains of the Democratic Party. An international arrest warrant was issued for Plahotniuk at the beginning of the year on behalf of Stoianoglo. The head of the U.S. State Department, Mike Pompeo, also reported that the oligarch was involved in the privatization of the state and was involved in corruption schemes and the liquidation of democratic institutions in Moldova at the beginning of the year.


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