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Detention Of Former Moldovan PM Over $1 Billion Fraud Extended For 30 Days

  • RFE/RL's Moldovan Service

A court in Moldova has ruled that the country’s former prime minister will be held in pretrial detention for another 30 days.

The decision on October 18 came after prosecutors accused former Prime Minister Vlad Filat of corruption in connection with the purported theft of some $1 billion from the country’s banking system that jolted the ex-Soviet country's political and economic life.

Filat, who led the former Soviet republic from 2009 to 2013, was detained in parliament on October 15 for questioning by the country's anticorruption agency.

Under Moldovan law suspects can be held for 72 hours without being charged after which the court must make a decision.

Prosecutor Corneliu Gurin alleges that Filat took bribes totaling about $250 million from a businessman and indirectly gave him control of one of three Moldovan banks from which up to $1.5 billion disappeared ahead of the country’s November 2014 parliamentary elections.

Filat has denied the charges against him and claimed that he is a victim of political rivalries.

Dozens of Filat’s supporters and critics protested outside the Chisinau court on October 18 while chanting slogans in support and against him.

The banking scandal has led to mass street protests and calls for the resignation of the country's top officials.