DOC // How ANI clears the deputy Prosecutor General, Ruslan Popov: His luxurious house overlooked and the business registered in his parents’ name, left to the Tax Office

Julieta Saviţchi

The National Integrity Authority (ANI) did not find any discrepancies in the statements on property signed by prosecutor Ruslan Popov and ordered the termination of the control procedure after 20 months of checks. The ANI inspector overlooked the prosecutor's luxurious home, which he did not declare until 2015, justified the loans from his in-laws, and left the million-dollar agricultural business registered in his father's name to the Tax Office.

The Finding Act signed on September 30, 2019 by the senior integrity inspector, Andrian Fetescu, shows that in the period 2012–2020 the income of the Popov family exceeds by almost four million lei the value of the property. The integrity inspector does not refer to the prosecutor's house of over 200 square meters, put into operation in 2006, which he started declaring in 2015 at the price of 111,753 lei.

The integrity inspectorate included tens of thousands of euros in loans from in-laws to the income category and found relevant Ruslan Popov's justification that his mother-in-law borrowed it after selling her property in Ukraine and managed to build a house to ensure a decent living near his son-in-law's house.

Inspector Fetescu did not ask for explanations regarding the fruit business and the fruit refrigerator, built in record time, registered in the name of Ruslan Popov's father, a pensioner who lived a modest life as an ordinary worker.

The integrity inspector reasoned that the verification of the prosecutor's father's property does not fall within his competence, and the control of the origin of the money invested in the business is the competence of the Tax Inspectorate.

However, the integrity inspector also discovered two errors in the statements of property by Ruslan Popov, which he will correct within 30 days. It is about the incorrect indication of the 125,000 lei loan that the prosecutor's eldest son received from his grandmother and the non-declaration of a $ 100 donation received by him from a relative from the USA.

Ruslan Popov was detained on Saturday and is in custody for 72 hours. The interim general prosecutor, Dumitru Robu, declared that Popov is being prosecuted by the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office for illicit enrichment. Robu also said that the case was started as a result of the analysis of the information from the journalistic investigations and the evidence collected on the case.

Last year, the Center for Investigative Journalism published a series of investigations into Ruslan Popov's fortune and alleged camouflaged business. Reporters described the prosecutor's agricultural business, a business registered in his father's name, a refrigerator for storing fruit, luxurious house and cars.

Journalists at the CIJM found the parental home of Ruslan Popov's wife in the Ukrainian village of Utkonosovka after he publicly said he had been helped by in-laws. Journalists found out that Popov's mother-in-law lived a modest life, she sold her household for 18,000 euros and did not have the money to help his son-in-law prosecutor, in addition to the house she bought in Milestii Mici.

On January 23, 2020, one day after the publication of the investigation into Popov's property, Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo asked the National Integrity Authority to check the property of his deputy prosecutor, Ruslan Popov.

The General Prosecutor's Office announced that Stoianoglo made this decision at the request of Ruslan Popov, who, in turn, described the information about him as derogatory and threatens his honor  and of his family and sued the Center for Investigative Journalism.

ANI previously stated that the verifications regarding Ruslan Popov take time on the grounds that "the control actions are complex and time consuming".

Julieta Saviţchi

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