Russia indicts Moldovan oligarch Plahotniuc for "leading drug cartel"

By bne IntelliNews June 27, 2019

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has indicted Moldovan businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc, ex-leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM), for leading “a drug syndicate”, Accent TV reported quoting a statement from the Russian ministry.

Plahotniuc has rejected the accusations, claiming that all the investigations initiated by Russian prosecutors against him are politically motivated and grounded on testimonies made by witnesses under pressure.

According to investigators, Plahotniuc participated in the supply of Moroccan hashish to Russia through Spain.

“[I]nvestigators of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in absentia charged the former chairman of the Democratic Party of the Republic of Moldova, Vladimir Plahotniuc, and his confidant, professional athlete Konstantin Tsutsu, with the crime provided for by paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 210 of the Criminal Code, respectively, as well as for 28 cases of contraband and illegal sale of narcotic drugs on a large scale,” ministry representative Irina Volk.

This criminal community in the form of an association of organised groups was created between June and August 2012 and headed by Oleg Prutyanu and other natives of the Moldova and Spain, according to Volk’s statement.

As a result of investigative actions and operational search activities carried out from August 2012 to June 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, together with foreign colleagues from Moldova, Belarus and Spain launched a special operation “The Iberian Kink”. This established and brought to criminal liability more than 60 participants of an international drug syndicate. Over one tonne of narcotic hashish was withdrawn from the trafficking.

The statement also said it was established that Plahotniuc, who had the ability to influence the political situation and state authorities in Moldova, using “criminal methods of influencing people”, entered into a “criminal conspiracy” with Moldovan organised criminal leaders.

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