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Former Moldovan PM Convicted Of Bribery Released From Prison

Vlad Filat had been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Vlad Filat had been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Former Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat was released early from prison on parole to the surprise of the country’s leadership on December 4.

President Igor Dodon said he did not expect Filat's release on parole after he had spent 4 1/2 years of his 9-year prison sentence for abuse of office and corruption.

"This decision took me by surprise. Perhaps, it can be explained by some actions of the former government,” Dodon told journalists. “I requested that the Justice Ministry provide information. I will give some of the details following the session of the Supreme Security Council tomorrow."

Filat was released after the Chisinau Court of Appeal reduced his sentence.

He expressed relief upon being let free.

“Please try to understand, I am in a mood…. I will go home and now I will visit my parents, I want to spend time with them. For today, I am sure I will not participate in any TV shows. Try to understand. I will come back later with other comments,” Filat told the Ziarul de Garda newspaper.

A court in Chisinau on June 27, 2016 found Filat guilty on charges related to bribery in a $1 billion bank fraud case.

Aside from abusing office, he was specficially found guilty of taking a $250 million bribe from businessman Ilan Shor, the alleged mastermind of the billion-dollar theft in Moldova's banking system.

Filat was Moldova's prime minister in 2009-2013 and was arrested on October 15, 2015.

He denied any wrongdoing and said the case against him was politically motivated.

Based on reporting by Balkan Insight, Ziarul de Garda, Media Maker, and Interfax

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