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Moldova Accuses Diplomat Of Issuing Visas For Bribes

Moldovan authorities have arrested the country’s consul in Istanbul, accusing him of taking bribes from Middle Eastern people in exchange for visas and other documents.

The Moldovan prosecutor’s office and intelligence service, SIS, told a joint press conference on November 17 that Veaceslav Filip was detained for 72 hours as he arrived from Istanbul at the Chisinau airport late the previous day.

Officials alleged that Filip had issued visas illegally "for hundreds of dollars each" to "Arab people," mainly "from Syria and Iraq."

Moldovan intelligence chief Mihai Balan said Filip had endangered the country’s security and urged the parliament to pass a law that would authorize the SIS to post agents at all Moldovan consulates and embassies to help curb "widespread corruption" there.

In an interview with RFE/RL on November 17, former SIS Director Valentin Dediu expressed doubts about the official allegations against Filip, saying the whole case might be just a ploy to get parliament to adopt the law.

The Moldovan Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling Filip "an experienced and dedicated diplomat."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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