Over the past few years, the state authorities unleashed a genuine campaign of tapping and surveillance of figures opposing the Democratic Party rule. The operation unfolded under the cover of three criminal dossiers, which were very much similar, while Facebook posts and statements made at news conferences were the sources for those dossiers.
As many as 52 individuals had their profiles screened by prosecutors and police, including politicians, civil society activists, and even journalists. Aside from phone tapping, some of them faced intrusion into their private lives, with microphones and video cameras being installed in their homes.
RISE Moldova has obtained data that shows the scale of the operation. It includes almost 600 draft orders, requests, minutes, court judgments, and warrants. The papers also point to more than 200 DVDs with taped phone conversations.
Officially, this effort of law-enforcement agencies ended up on a pessimist note in the criminal score: the data did not present any interest and was therefore destroyed. In reality, certain individuals claim that the regime used the materials from surveillance for criminal prosecution or public defamation.
The DOSSIER of NEWS CONFERENCE
March 31, 2016. Several leaders of the Dignity and Truth Civic Platform (Platforma DA) hold a news conference and, among others, called on “people of good faith to walk out into the streets for protests” on April 24, with a meeting culminating in the Great National Assembly Square.
This call was heard by many people including officials in the General Police Inspectorate (IGP) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MAI). Five days later the law-enforcements responded with a call of their own, warning that the opposition’s plan for protests accommodated Article 285 from the Criminal Code, “Mass Disorders”, and therefore a case coded 2016790079 was filed.
The police found that the news conference was in fact “a scene-setter to mobilize the Moldovan society for a revolt that in the end will be turned into a true revolution, will reverse the existing regime, and will install a power of the people.”
‘REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION!’
On 7 April, prosecuting officer Sergiu Roşu, of the Section for Investigation against Organized Crime and Outstanding Cases – a division of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, asked the investigating judge Dorin Munteanu to give the green light for 30-day phone tapping based on this dossier.
It began with 12 persons. Among them – Platforma DA leaders Andrei Năstase, Chiril Moţpan, and Ruslan Verbiţchi, journalist Alexandru Cozer, war veterans Constantin Boeştean, Vasile Iacubov, and Ion Caraman.
Phone tapping was just the first step. Mr. Roșu asked Mr. Munteanu to add more special measures in relation to ten persons, such as “recorded visual surveillance, GPS-based or by other means localization, and the use of special equipment to document their actions.” The police officer argued before the judge that Platforma DA leaders had talked of “Maidan” before the press and in social media and that they had defended the right to use force: “An increasing number of people says that force is needed to make this political class leave… Revolution is the only solution!”
Meanwhile five more opposition figures connected to Platforma DA got included in the surveillance operation: Vasile Năstase, Inga Grigoriu, Mihai Tomacinschi, Alexandr Topolenco, and Daniel Ulinici.
APRIL 24, 2016 „MAIDAN”
The protest rally which Platforma DA organized in the Great National Assembly Square (the heart of the capital) turned at a given moment into a march through the city and degenerated into brawls with police forces. Especially in the Bulgara Street area where Democratic Party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc has is residence, and in front of the Global Business Center – the politician’s business headquarters.
On May 5, 2016, prosecutor Roșu requested the extension by one more month of the phone-tapping operation. „The gathering of data and evidence let us conclude that Năstase Andrei, in complicity with other individuals, is preparing to commit offenses that are described in the Penal Code,” reads the order pertaining the leader of Platforma DA. The wording is a copy-and-paste text from the orders regarding most opposition activists under surveillance. Details, HERE
Things got cloudier for Aureliu Pisica, a member of Platforma DA, who was tracked and followed and photographed on April 24 and May 11. As many as „136 files” on two DVDs emerged as a result of Pisica’s surveillance.
We learned from a request dated May 23, 2016, that prosecutor Roşu asked the investigating judge to keep Aureliu Pisică uninformed about his surveillance for the sake of “preventing the leakage of information”. The judge’s draft judgment, which came in the same package with the prosecutor’s request, just ready for his signature – accepts the requests but obligates the prosecutor to inform Mr. Pisica „no later than the time the investigation completes.”
In late May 2016, surveillance extends onto Diana Puga, who just got hired as an assistant to Socialist MP Adrian Lebedinschi. Before taking this job, she had worked as chief auditor at the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications, which until January 2016 was led by Democrat Pavel Filip. The reason for tapping – „in complicity with other individuals, [she] is preparing to commit offenses that are described in the Penal Code.” Details, HERE
Some time later Vladimir Bordian, a senior officer at the National Investigations Inspectorate (INI), edited a report for prosecutor Sergiu Roşu, wherein he justified his rationale for continuing intercepting the phone calls of 14 persons affiliated to Platforma DA. Details, HERE
The information in the held by RISE Moldova shows that the last moves in this case happened on June 10, 2016, when three more unidentified persons got their phones tapped by police: Eugen, Ion, and Haralampie. The same reason is used to justify the taping operation: „in complicity with other individuals, [they] are preparing to commit offenses that are described in the Penal Code.” Details, HERE
The DOSSIER of FACEBOOK COMMENTS
11 January 2017. The police file a new case under number 2017790004. It is based on a decision of the Education Trade Unions Federation from 27 December 2016 that called for protests before the Government and Parliament headquarters during January 17-20, 2017, over the „continued decline of the welfare of employees in the education and research sector.” Details, HERE
Once this plan gets shared via social media, the General Police Inspectorate (IGP) uses the same Penal Code provision – Article 285, “Mass Disorders” – to kick off investigative procedures. The authorities regarded the Facebook comments associated with the Federation’s decision good enough to describe them as “calls by users with fake data for violence against the current Government of Moldova and for mass disorders.”
A week ahead of protests, prosecutors order a 30-day interception of phone conversations of 14 people. The reason sounds like this: “some members and supporters of Platforma DA could possibly get involved in preparations for mass disorders.”
Among the 14 individuals whose phones are tapped we identified eight men under surveillance in The DOSSIER of NEWS CONFERENCE: Andrei Năstase, Chiril Moțpan, Constantin Boeștean, Aureliu Pisică, Ion Caraman, Vasile Iacubov, Ruslan Verbițchi, and Serghei Cebotari. The other individuals are mainly war veterans.
It takes less than 24 hours since prosecutors had issued their phone interception orders for the first transcripts to appear from two phone conversations held on Friday night, January 13, 2017.
The first, which begins at 18:13, is a three-minute record between Aureliu Pisică, a Platforma DA member, and Victor Leancă, chairman of the Moldovan Retirees Union. Mr. Pisică apologized for having missed „the flashmob”, blaming a court session in the city of Hâncești, but reminded Mr. Leancă that there was one more event left for Sunday. Details, HERE
The second record is a midnight discussion between Platforma DA leader Andrei Năstase and a man called Andrei, whose phone number is 079xxx332. The two talk first about the translation of a CV from Romanian into English and then change the subject about “the Sunday event.”
„The flashmob” and „the Sunday event” are in fact the meetings in support of television station Jurnal TV, which until recently was controlled by businessman Victor Țopa, Andrei Năstase’s godfather, following news that the station was being kicked out of its rented offices in SkyTower office building.
The day of trade unions’ protests, 17 January. The event passed without much noise. A week later though prosecutors added two more individuals to the phone tapping operation: Victor Mudrea and Iuri Scobioală, for the same reason: „possible to receive or transmit relevant information for the investigation.”
In early February 2017, police extract transcripts from two tapped conversations of Vasile Iacubov, chairman of the War Veterans Association in Ciocana Sector of the capital. Mr. Iacubov had claimed before at a news conference that Platforma DA leaders were plotting a coup d’etat. He was later seen at various meetings organized by the Moldovan Democratic Party.
February 7, 2017, time – 09:41:26 – 09:51:36. Iacubov talks to a man by mobile number 069xxx649. They discuss mainly organizational matters and also mention Mihai Tomacinschi, a former combatant.
Vasile Iacubov: Yesterday, I had a meeting with Mr. Mihai Tomacinschi. He kept saying: Revolution, Revolution! We talked an hour or so, I tried to calm him down, reminding him that he was not of a revolution age. I said: you are already 62 years old, come one and join us and be a good guy. You’ve gotten skills, our fellows respect you, everyone, who had fought with you side by side, and those who know you. This struggle isn’t good. If you go on fighting, all you’ll gain is hate.
Unknown man: That’s right. See the entire transcript HERE
February 7, 2017, time – 10:31:18 – 10:35:18. Someone calls Iacubov from the number 069xxx989. The discussion is summarized to someone „Mister Mihai”.
Vasile Iacubov: Yesterday, I had a meeting with Mr. Mihai Viteazu, exchange some thoughts.
Unknown man: Did you reach a compromise or not? […]
Vasile Iacubov: I am telling him: Mr. Mihai, I’ve been near you all the time but I can’t get involved in the revolution you plan. I don’t want a discord. Full transcript, HERE
Two days later those conversations police added Mihai Tomacinschi to the taping operation list. They also decide to extend the phone interception period by another 30 days for all 14 persons who appeared in the dossier.
THREE OUT, EIGHT IN
In the meanwhile, two former combatants dropped from the list. Instead, new names were inserted. One is Aliona Mandatii, at that time deputy chairwoman of Platforma DA. The other is journalist Vladimir Soloviov, co-founder of the news portal Newsmaker. The interception order on his name was issued on April 6, 2017, a day after Mr. Soloviov publicly acknowledged being followed by unknown men.
The orders on the names of Soloviov and Mandatii do not reveal the reasons for interception; just a vague reference to Facebook comments and that they “could possibly receive or transmit relevant and important information for the investigation.”
During the next months, one more combatant was removed from the interception list but six other individuals got in. Among them is Arcadie Barbăroșie, executive director of the Public Policy Institute, economic expert Sergiu Tofilat, and civic activist Andrei Donica. Their comments on Facebook and opportunities to fish for information were enough for a court to authorize their phones’ interception.
„PREPARE AND COMMIT OFFENSES”
In this particular case, the authorities went beyond phone tapping. On June 7 prosecutors issued orders for special investigative measures on the names of Andrei Năstase, Serghei Cebotari, and Sergiu Tofilat. These are pictured as potential suspects who “act in complicity with other individuals, prepare and commit criminal offenses” and “could probably meet other persons from the underworld that are connected with the circumstances of criminal activity.”
The new orders untied the hands of police for visual surveillance and home supervision, for video and audio recording, for tracking their movement and transportation, and identification of persons they talk to. (Details, HERE) On July 19 prosecutors issued new orders for visual surveillance. Năstase and Cebotari remain in the list while Tofilat is replaced by Chiril Moțpan.
The last orders for interception and surveillance were issued in July 2017, according to the records in possession of RISE Moldova. That happened six months since the investigation in this dossier begun – the maximum period the law allows the authorities to use special investigative measures based „on the same reasons and the same subject.”
The DOSSIER of UNINOMINAL VOTE
June 11, 2017, was a noisy day in Moldova. In Chișinău, the capital, opposition activists and supporters filled in the streets to protest against the hasty change of the election system, as the Parliament replaced the proportional vote with the mixed one.
One month later, on June 14, 2017, to be accurate, investigating officers and prosecutors in charge with the organized crime filed the third case against “Mass disorders”, coded # 2017670229. Everyone concerned in this case was from the opposition camp; the following is the official ground for investigation:
The documents which RISE Moldova has obtained demonstrate that 29 individuals had their mobile phone tapped including politicians, civil society leaders, activists, and their children. In fact, some of them were intercepted in two more cases – 2016790079 and 2017790004, and the latest case served as a disguised reason to continue the interception for another half a year.
CALENDAR OF INTERCEPTIONS
The interception of phone calls began on July 19, 2017, or five days upon filing a criminal case, and ended on January 2018. The secret recording of conversations occurred usually for periods up to 30 days and beyond.
The first person to have his phone calls tapped was Professor Leonid Lefter. He was then a supporter of Platforma DA and for some time he appears at Democratic Party rallies. Details, HERE
Following is the chronology of special investigative measures related to this case. On July 19, 2017, prosecutor Roman Rusu filed two requests with investigative judge Sergiu Bularu. In the first one he asked permission to pick up the records from mobile phone operators Moldcell, Orange, and Moldtelecom in order to “analyze the transcripts from the phone conversations, identify the users by number, their location, and surveys of users, based on the data from the SIM card 068xxx199 […]”. This number belongs to Leonid Lefter.
In the second one, the same day, Mr. Rusu asked permission to begin the interception of Lefter’s mobile phone for 30 days. This measure was approved immediately, RISE learned.
On July 29, 2017, prosecutor Roman Rusu added 17 more individuals to the interception list, including Andrei Năstase, Ion Caraman, Chiril Moțpan, Aliona Mandatii and her son Cătălin, Sergiu Tofilat, Sergiu Cebotari, Arcadie Barbăroșie (director of the Public Policy Institute), and Vladislav Gribincea (director of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova).
Some of those 17 individuals had their phone tapped for months. The list grew on August 8, 2017, when Mr. Rusu added Vitalie Josan, the driver of Platforma DA deputy chairwoman Aliona Mandatii, and medical physician Marcel Balagura.
On August 17, 2017, other two prosecutors appear in this case and seek interception authorizations from investigative judges; they are Valeriu Sîrbu and Dumitru Raileanu. By the end of 2017, the list grows to 29 individuals and among the new names RISE identified Platforma DA deputy chairman Alexandru Slusari; Ruxanda Josan (daughter of Platforma DA activist Nicolae Josan); Platforma DA youth wing leader Dinu Plângău; and Dan Perciun, deputy chairman of the Action and Solidarity Party.
VIDEO CAMERAS IN PERCIUN’S HOME
Aside from phone taping, Moldovan prosecutors asked the investigating judges to let them put protesting activists on visual surveillance. In the home of one opposition member, they installed mini-cameras in order “to study the suspect’s behavior for signs of criminal activity.” Police agents secretly entered Perciun’s apartment on prosecutors’ orders based on a report edited by INI officer Victor Papuc.
August 17, 2017. Victor Papuc drafts a report addressed to Roman Rusu, the prosecutor of the Prosecution Office for Organized Crime and Special Missions in which he concludes based on interception data that Mr. Perciun in his own apartment at Radautanu Street hosted meetings with persons “who might be involved in criminal activities.” In order to collect evidence, he asked the prosecutor to handle the legal aspect so that police agents could secretly install video and audio recording equipment in Perciun’s apartment.
The same day, prosecutor Rusu issued an order that authorized the special investigative measures and a number of other acts: a formal request for an investigating judge and a court order filled properly and waiting for the judge’s signature and registration number to become valid. Metadata research shows that these documents were printed on August 16, 2017, one day before the prosecutor signed them and the judge validated.
On September 13, 2017, police officer Papuc issued another report on the name addressed toRusu. This time he asked permission for the visual surveillance of Dan Perciun, Andrei Năstase, Chiril Moțpan, and Serghei Cebotari, arguing the measure would “depict and foil the activity of this group inside the country.” Details, HERE
It is understood from those papers that the prosecutor consented the same day to give a free hand to the INI’s 7th Department for a 30-day surveillance operation.
The information in RISE Moldova’s possession shows that the police tapped the phone conversations of 51 people. Eight of them – mostly Platforma DA members – were part of three dossiers. Another nine persons were part of two dossiers. This happened in spite of the fact that domestic laws prohibit the use of special investigative measures against the same individual and for the same reasons.
Vladislav GRIBINCEA, chairman of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova: Filing up a new case is as a matter of fact an act of cheating for the sake of artificial prolongation of the interception operation; none of our courts would accept this.
It took 205 DVDs of „Titanium and Esperanza brand” to accommodate the recorded discussions of those 51 individuals. An absolute majority of them bore the following resolution “The data collected during the special investigative measures are not relevant for the investigation” and advised the judge to proceed to their destruction. Only one out of 205 DVDs has survived.
„I SEE HIM ON PRIME TV”
The only disk of interest for the police was the one under number 25/4546-I, which is related to the case about Facebook comments. It contains a discussion from the night of March 21, 2017, when an “unidentified man” called by phone Sergiu Cebotari to ask about „Aurel”, who „is on Prime TV.”
Mr. Cebotari is the person who publicly disclosed that his employer, state-run post company Poșta Moldovei, had smuggled anabolic substances into neighboring countries and beyond. He was later sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud and forced labor.
This is the set of documents with the conversation transcript:
Indeed, on the day this conversation took place, Prime TV aired a news piece based on a recorded phone conversation in which Aurel Pisica, a Platforma DA member, expressed anger over the “misbehavior of Andrei [Năstase] and that piece of sh.t [Chiril] Moțpan.”
Prime TV, which is owned by Democratic Party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc, quoted Vesti.md as the primary source for the news. Vesti.md is a portal with its IT address registered on the name of General Media Group SRL, which in turn was in the property of Dutch company OTIV Prime Media BV; a few years ago, the latter one was the direct owner of Prime TV, Canal 2, Canal 3, and Publika TV. Details, HERE and HERE
The same night, on March 21, 2017, vesti.md aired a similar story but with a new record. This time Mr. Pisica complains that Andrei Năstase „isn’t any better than [Vladimir] Plahotniuc or anybody else,” disagreeing this way against Platforma DA leader’s plans over the party branch in Ialoveni.
MINISTRY of HOME AFFAIRS CONFIRMS
Two of the three dossiers are in the management of the General Department for Criminal Prosecution of the Interior Affairs Ministry and the other is handled by the Prosecution Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Missions (PCCOCS).
We mailed many letters in our attempts to obtain official information.
April 24, 2019. Valeriu Bodean, deputy to the chief prosecutor of PCCOCS, only tells us that “no final resolutions exist in relation with the dossiers 2016790079, 2017790004, or 2017670229.” Details, HERE
April 25, 2019. Andrian Șova, director of the Information Technology Service at the Ministry of Home Affairs, confirms that the investigations started on the days indicated in our leaks and the official reasons were those indicated in our leaks too, that is “Mass disorders.” He also informed us about the fates of the three dossiers: “The investigations have been suspended in compliance with art. 287/1, al.1, p.2 – which means that the person who needs to be charged has not been identified.”
Vladislav GRIBINCEA, chairman of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova: Suspension means that the investigation continues at a slower pace, with no active measures undertaken. During this period the information amassed in the dossier remains confidential. The Code of Penal Procedures does not foresee a maximum period of suspension. When the case is closed anyone is allowed to see the materials. My understanding is that the suspension has been enacted in order to keep the files classified and keep the public eyes off the results of this investigation. It is clearly an abuse committed by our prosecutors.
Gheorghe Racovița, head of staff at the Information and Security Service (SIS), explains in an official response what SIS dees in the event of phone tapping: „[It] transmits the signal of the taped communication to the investigating authority […] in real-time mode, without recording the conversation.” Details, HERE
In other words, SIS provides for technical support and the tapping and recording of phone conversations are carried out by „the investigating unit” of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
In one of the files in possession of RISE Moldova – it is called “The Annex to the minutes of the reproduction of the phone communication from 29.07.2017 carried by Grebincea Vladislav, who owns the SIM card #079xxx070, during 20.07.20178-23.11.2017” – we found a screenshot depicting the software used in the interception operation. Details, HERE
The software’s name is Reliant and it is a product of Verint Systems Inc. In the company web archives, we found that Reliant has been sold to governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. It is described as a tool for [informal translation] “Collection, storage and analysis of data that has been gathered for more effective investigation and collection of evidence in compliance with the legal interception standards.”
From the screenshot picture, we can see that the software was visited on November 21, 2017, by a user coded as „MAI14” and that the user license will remain valid for 626 more days. It also contains a list of phone numbers under official scrutiny. Most of those numbers belong to the individuals envisaged in those three criminal investigations.
In response to our requests, INI director Ion Iachimov said „the software has not been used,” and IGP director Alexandru Pânzari noted that „the agency – since its founding till now – has not signed any agreement for the acquisition of the above-mentioned software.” Details, HERE and HERE
The law says that „as soon as the prosecutor or the judge approves of the special investigative measures, the subjects of interception are informed.” However, this obligation may be deferred by issuing a “motivated decision”, therefore the police obtained those decisions in all three criminal dossiers in order to postpone the information of the subjects.
The motivation for postponement contained a simple wording as a rule: „because the criminal investigation […] is not complete and for prevention of information leakage.” But the subjects of interception must be informed of the measures at one given moment and the law says „no later than the time of completion of the criminal investigation.”
We have contacted some of the persons concerned in the three cases and they denied ever being informed officially of the phone tapping. Even those envisaged in all three cases denied knowing about the interception.
Andrei NĂSTASE, Platforma DA chairman and the new minister of Home Affairs: One instance of proof that I’d been under watch is the release of a record of an innocent conversation between a son and his mother, during the municipal election campaign. […] In 2015 or in 2016 […] I was informed by the Prosecutor-General’s Office about my interception in a criminal case that had no relationship to me whatsoever. That was an excuse to tap my phone. […] They also found cameras in my house. One was in my bedroom.
Dan PERCIUN, currently MP on behalf of PAS: I always suspected it, [especially] since my active involvement in politics. With bugs in my phone I used to hear my own voice while talking to someone, and the battery discharged really fast. There were signs suggesting that I was under watch. No one so far has acknowledged this fact.
Inga GRIGORIU, currently MP on behalf of Platforma DA: I was certainly intercepted. My phone number is public. I never hid what number people could call me at. [The authorities] entered our private zone, our personal space, and it doesn’t feel safe, believe me. – Any visual surveillance? – Yes, of course. We got to know each other and even exchanged greetings. In a way, I felt protected by those guys (she smiles).
Vladislav GRIBINCEA, chairman of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova: I checked my office and found two microphones. That was in 2017. I also suspected that my emails are read. Later I got proof that my inbox password was broken.
Arcadie BARBĂROȘIE, executive director of the Public Policy Institute: – You’d been under surveillance since 2017, haven’t you? – I don’t know, maybe it happened in 2007, or in 2008, or 2009 – perhaps I was under monitoring all those years. I am not aware of any activities that bothered me. I didn’t feel like being under surveillance or a subject of illicit attempts.
Vasile IACUBOV, chairman of the Veterans Association of Ciocana Sector: – Have you ever been informed officially of your surveillance? – I would like to stay out of comments. Please don’t ask such questions. These are provocative questions, in my opinion. I am not involved in dirty things. If there’s something I need to say – I say it, even under outstanding circumstances, on events that bother me.
Diana PUGA, at that moment assistant to Socialist MP Adrian Lebedinschi: Have you ever been informed officially of your surveillance? – No, I hear this for the first time. – Have you ever suspected that you were intercepted? – I always had this feeling; my mobile phone runs a program that shows when someone takes over my profile. Perhaps because I worked with Pavel Filip when he was the minister of information technology. I served as the audit chief, until 2016.
Aliona MANDATI, member of Platforma DA: I am followed constantly as one of my companies is under investigation over so-called tax evasion. It’s written in the dossier: as a result of phone tapping [police] gathered evidence with assumptions and suspicions. The case was filed in 2017 and the company is accruing tremendous losses because its accounts remain blocked.
Vladimir SOLOVIOV, journalist: In 2014 was the first time I noticed I was watched. It was during the period of the parliamentary election campaign. I met [Alexandr] Petrenco (former Communist MP) at the airport […] At the e3xit door a security employee whispered at my ear that some individuals waiting in a BMW examined my motor car and took pictures of its plate number. […] In April 2017, I had a late-night meeting with Vadim Pistrinciuc (former Liberal Democratic MP), and while leaving the café I spotted two men walking towards us; when they saw us leaving the café, they turned back. The next day I saw their car near the Newsmaker office. They were no longer hiding, it was a demonstrative surveillance.
The three cases were handled most of the time by two prosecutors: Sergiu Roșu and Roman Rusu, who were aided by investigative police officers Victor Papuc, Sergiu Balan, and Vladimir Bordian, of the 5th Department of INI/IGP.
Sergiu ROȘU. He was appointed as prosecutor in 2011. In late January 2016, the Higher Council of Prosecutors recommended the prosecutor-general to award Mr. Roşu a Honorary Diploma of First Degree, as a gesture designed to encourage the employee. In August 2016, Mr. Roșu was promoted to PCCOCS.
Roman RUSU. He started his career as a prosecutor in 1995, in the Botanica Sector prosecution office and in 2005 he moved to the Center District prosecution office of the capital. He too was promoted to PCCOCS in 2016.
Victor PAPUC. He is a senior investigation officer at INI since 2014. Until then he had worked as a police inspector at the Police Commissariat in Hâncești. Mr. Papuc was stopped in 2016 by a police patrol for driving a Toyota RAV 4 with fake plate numbers.
Vladimir BORDIAN was employed as an investigation officer at INI in 2016, and Sergiu BALAN got the same rank one year later. Earlier both were colleagues at the Police Inspectorate in Fălești, where Mr. Bordian served as a criminal investigation officer and Mr. Balan served as a senior field officer.
The data in the hold of RISE Moldova contain dozens of projects of court judgments and court warrants bearing the names of the investigating judges who were expected to sign the papers. Among them are Nicolae Corcea, Dorin Munteanu, and Sergiu Bularu. We filed formal requests for information on the special investigative measures pertaining the above-mentioned cases.
Ultimately our requests reached the table of the head of the Chișinău Court, Radu Țurcanu (Details, HERE). He replied that „the interception and the recording of conversations and afferent images are classified data” and that „access to official information may not be restricted except for the information contained in an ongoing probe or a criminal investigation.” Details, HERE
Nicolae CORCEA. He started his career at the Bălți Court, based in Sîngerei. He moved into the capital in 2014, via a job transfer. One year later his name appeared in the news headlines for awarding victory to Finpar Invest SRL, a company affiliated to Vladimir Plahotniuc, in a legal dispute with the Chișinău Municipal Council. The central piece of the dispute is a café in the downtown where the oligarch intended to build a hotel, just a half a minute walk from the parliament building. The Court of Appeal later partially repealed this decision. Details, HERE and HERE
Sergiu BULARU. A former advisor to the leader of the Democratic Party faction in the parliament. In 2014 he was appointed as a judge by then-president Nicolae Timofti. He worked for one year and a half at the Chișinău Court and then got promoted to investigative judge at the same institution.
Dorin MUNTEANU. He began his career as an investigating judge ten years ago, in Basarabeasca. In 2015, the Higher Council of Magistrates transferred him to the Chișinău Court, where he got promoted to an investigating judge in four months. In January 2017, Munteanu is suspended by the same Council and he faces criminal charges. Mr. Munteanu contests this decision but the Supreme Court of Justice turns down his appeal.
PHONE TAPPING RECORD
Statistical reports for the past years show that the number of warrants issued for interception of private communication has been on the rise. „This means that nobody cares for private life or human rights in Moldova,” reckons Vladislav Gribincea, chairman of the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova.
Vladislav GRIBINCEA: We compared the domestic statistical reports with the situation in the United Kingdom, which is much bigger than Moldova and has an increased risk of terrorism. Per capita, it turns out that in 2014, for example, Moldova used interception 40 times more frequently than the UK. Since that year the number of interceptions has doubled in Moldova: from 5,900 cases to 12,000 in 2018. This is the biggest number of interception of phone conversations in Moldova ever. It means that this sort of investigative tool is used abusively here.
Ion PREAȘCA, Nicolae CUȘCHEVICI, Iurie SANDUȚA
Contributors: Liuba ȘEVCIUC, Olga CEAGLEI, Vladimir THORIC