DOC//Following CIJM investigations: Details from the litigation of ex-prosecutor Ruslan Popov against the General Prosecutor's Office

Viorica Mija
Sursa: CIJM

The Chisinau Court published the reasoned decision rejecting the request of former Deputy General Prosecutor Ruslan Popov against the General Prosecutor's Office. Accused of illicit enrichment and false public statements, initiated following the investigations of the Center for Investigative Journalism, Popov requested damages of 50,000 lei for the violation of the right to information. In November 2023, Ruslan Popov, who also held the position of deputy to former Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo, lost the case against the Center for  Investigative Journalism (CIJM). Popov sued the CIJM after the journalists of portal uncovered his business in Mileştii Mici, which he managed but was registered in the name of his father, a pensioner past 70 years old. Following these investigations, the National Integrity Authority checked the wealth of the ex-prosecutor, and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal case for illicit enrichment. As a result, Ruslan Popov also lost his position in the Prosecutor's Office.

Ruslan Popov sued the General Prosecutor's Office, requesting the finding of a violation of the right to information, as well as the collection of moral damages of 50,000 lei and court costs from the institution he led. The Chisinau Court, Râșcani headquarters, where the former prosecutor filed the request, considered his action unfounded.

"The court notes that the process of monitoring and announcing the vacant positions of prosecutor and chief prosecutor throughout the prosecutor's office system is expressly delegated by law to the Superior Council of Prosecutors as a body that ensures the self-administration of the Prosecutor's Office system. Therefore, the General Prosecutor's Office correctly indicated that the targeted information should be requested from the Superior Council of Prosecutors."

"Furthermore, by the response of the Superior Council of Prosecutors no. 5-10d/23-453 of February 21, 2023, the requested information was made available to the applicant. (f.d. 17-25) The plaintiff's criticisms regarding the refusal of the General Prosecutor's Office to present him the requested information are unjustified. However, the petitioner cannot claim that the answer to his request will be given in a certain manner according to his personal desire, as the determination of the answer is the exclusive attribute of the competent public authority," the reasoned decision states.

Detained at the beginning of October 2021, Popov was in preventive detention for almost 30 days in the isolation cell of the National Anticorruption Center.

Initially, the Chisinau Court ordered his placement under house arrest, but a few days later, the Chisinau Court of Appeal granted the anti-corruption prosecutors' request to place him in solitary confinement.

Later, the Chisinau Court of Appeal modified the decisions of the trial court regarding Popov, extending his house arrest. Prosecutor Popov was suspended from his position during the investigation, and in March 2021, he submitted a request for release from the system, which was accepted.

Ruslan Popov pleads not guilty.

Viorica Mija

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