Six MAI and ANP pensioners - found guilty of spying on two prosecutors for Șor Party

Six retirees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) and the National Administration of Penitentiaries (ANP) have been found guilty of spying on two anti-corruption prosecutors ahead of the November 2020 presidential elections while working in "internal security" for the " Șor" Party, the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) announced in a statement.

However, the decision of the Buiucani court in Chisinau was handed down in May 2023, in the absence of three defendants, when the deadline for holding them responsible for violating the inviolability of personal life expired. According to the law, the offence under investigation is punishable by a fine of up to 37,500 lei or unpaid community service of 200 to 240 hours. Although they were released from liability even though they were found guilty, the court ordered the six to pay court costs of over 28,000 lei.

The events took place in Chisinau over eight days. Most of the six men were then domiciled in the capital and were originally from Anenii-Noi, Chisinau and Lipcani-Briceni, aged between 34 and 53.

The first of them, a former prison chief, was informally employed by a former Deputy Minister of the Interior Ministry, whom he knew from the period when the latter had worked in the prison system. According to the file, he promised him a monthly salary of 20,000 lei.

"In the first month of his employment in the internal security of the ""Șor" Party," the defendant checked the work of the presidents within the party, the observance of working hours by activists, their interaction with citizens. Subsequently, the defendants stated that they were instructed to visit mayors from Criuleni, Dubasari, Cimislia and Glodeni districts, who were sympathizers of another party that did not have representatives in Parliament, on the grounds that they had not performed certain tasks well enough," the PCCOCS statement said.

According to the source, just over a month before the presidential elections, the former deputy minister asked the first of the recruited defendants to form a group of people, who would follow a prosecutor and a deputy prosecutor from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office unnoticed. They were to find out where and with whom the prosecutors would meet, and other defendants were specifically instructed to check whether the prosecutors would meet with representatives of the same extra-parliamentary party.

During the eight days, one of the defendants rented cars from a company for the purpose of tailing prosecutors, which they changed every day, and tailing was carried out by different defendants on different days. They reported to the first defendant recruited, who summarised the information about the prosecutors' itinerary in briefing notes and captured photographic images, which he presented to the former Deputy Minister.

The two anti-corruption prosecutors reported that they were being followed and filed complaints with the Office of the Prosecutor for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases. Following joint investigations by PCCOCS prosecutors with officers of the Internal Protection and Anti-Corruption Service (SPIA) of the MIA, the case was sent to trial in May 2021.

As for the guilt in the same file of the former Deputy Minister, the case was referred to PCCOCS prosecutors for the creation and direction of this organized criminal group, which includes other members. According to the Criminal Code, creating and directing a criminal organisation is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 8 to 15 years, and the defendant will be liable for 20 years from the commission of the crime in October 2020. However, until a final court decision is handed down, the persons concerned are presumed innocent by law.

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