En masse before the Disciplinary Board: businessman Valentin Eșanu, persecuted by the Plahotniuc government, demands disciplinary sanctions against 17 judges

Viorica Mija
Colaj CIJM

The plenary session of the Disciplinary Board considered the six referrals submitted by Valentin Eșanu, the businessman who exposed several schemes used to export metals by the former  leader of democrats, Vlad Plahotniuc. In total, Eșanu submitted six referrals, targeting 17 magistrates. Corruption schemes at the state-owned enterprise "Metalferos" were exposed back in 2017 in an extensive investigation by the Center for Journalistic Investigations (CIJM) titled "Metalferos: Schemes, Shell Companies, and Criminal Immunity."

Valentin Eșanu filed complaints regarding the actions of Nicolae Corcea, Maria Tertea (former judge) from the Chisinau Court (Ciocana headquarters), Ghenadie Morozan, Alexandru Gafton, Ghenadie Lîsîi, Ion Bulhac, Gheorghe Iovu, and Iurie Melinteanu (resigned judges) from the Chisinau Court of Appeal, Veniamin Chihai from the Chisinau District Court (Ciocana headquarters), Svetlana Tizu, Victor Sandu from the Chisinau District Court (Central headquarters), Nadejda Mazur from the Chisinau District Court (Center headquarters), Victor Rațoi from the Chisinau District Court (Ciocana headquarters), Constantin Damaschin and Serghei Papuha from the Chisinau District Court (Ciocana headquarters), Sergiu Ciobanu from the Chisinau District Court (Ciocana headquarters), and Sergiu Bularu (resigned) from the Chisinau District Court (Buiucani headquarters). The members of the College decided to consolidate all these referrals but also postponed the examination of these disciplinary cases for a later date.

The Chisinau Court of Appeal overturned the decision of the first court this June, in which the complaint of officers Marcel Caminschi and Andrei Ghidirimschi against businessman Valentin Eșanu, convicted in a fabricated case and subsequently rehabilitated, had been dismissed, including through the favorable decision of the ECtHR. The two officers sued Eșanu, demanding the falsification of information about "their involvement in the schemes at the Metalferos enterprise" and claiming moral damages of 100 thousand lei. According to the court of appeal's decision, pronounced by magistrate Ana Popov, the case will be retried in the same court of first instance and by the same panel of judges.

Marcel Caminschi and Andrei Ghidirimschi took Valentin Eșanu to court after the businessman declared on the radio station "Radio Europa Liberă Moldova" that the two were part of the group that fabricated his file. Valentin Eșanu stated in the interview that the real reasons for the files in his name and subsequently the arrest were the protests he organized for the liberalization of the ferrous and non-ferrous metal market.

"Marcel Caminschi, the head of the Economic Fraud Investigation Directorate within the National Investigation Inspectorate (INI), was later appointed to the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS). He executed all of Chitoroagă's orders—fabricating files, making threats, and engaging in theft. That person has blood on his hands, putting dozens, even hundreds of economic agents in prison and seizing their businesses. He is Chitoroagă's man," said the businessman in 2019.

In the same interview, Eșanu also spoke about the investigation officer, Andrei Ghidirimschi, who held the position of head of the operative investigations section within the PCCOCS. "They were a criminal team; I don't know how to say it correctly," affirmed Eșanu.

Marcel Caminschi and Andrei Ghidirimschi, who have repeatedly denied these accusations, filed the summons on October 28, 2020, and the Chisinau Court, the headquarters of the Center, removed it from the list. Disagreeing with the conclusion of the trial court, the two filed an appeal, arguing that "the conclusion of the trial court is illegal and unfounded, liable to be overturned."

"Upon scrutinizing the legality and validity of the lower court's conclusion in relation to the criticisms outlined in the appeal request and the evidentiary material, the Civil, Commercial, and Administrative Litigation Board of the Chisinau Court of Appeal concludes that the trial court's decision to remove from the docket the summons request in judgment submitted by Marcel Caminschi and Andrei Ghidirimschi is incorrect. This error stems from the inaccurate assessment of the evidentiary material and the misguided interpretation of the rules of substantive law. Distinctly, the Board notes that, according to the provisions of Article 267, letter g) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court removes the application from the list if the legally summoned plaintiff did not appear at the court session, failed to notify the court of the reasons for non-appearance, or if the reasons are considered unfounded. Moreover, if the plaintiff did not request the examination of the case in their absence, and the defendant does not request the resolution of the case on the merits. In the view of the appeals court, the judge of the non-judged substantive court dismissed the summons request based on Article 267, letter g) of the Civil Procedure Code. Alternatively, as the case may be, through the summons request, the plaintiffs Marcel Caminschi and Andrei Ghidirimschi expressly requested in item 2 of the summons request the trial of this action in their absence," states the Court of Appeal decision.

In February 2023, policeman Marcel Caminschi was removed from criminal prosecution in the Metalferos case due to the lack of evidence that would incriminate him. In a post on his social media page, Valentin Eșanu expressed his indignation at this decision.

We remind you that, this January, the businessman Valentin Eșanu won his case at the ECHR. The government was obliged by the European court to pay the businessman a moral damage of 3500 euros.

Asked by the reporters of the Anticoruptie.md portal, Valentin Eșanu said that the sum of 3,500 euros for two years of imprisonment is modest, but that he is satisfied that he won the case. "In the end, money doesn't matter. It is important that I won, that justice was served to me after my right to fair justice was violated. It is regrettable that the Republic of Moldova was condemned again for the abuses of the judiciary, because of which I personally was unjustly imprisoned for 2 years, abuses from which honest people suffered and continue to suffer", said the man Business.

Valentin Eșanu was imprisoned in 2017, being accused in three cases, after speaking about the monopoly on the export of ferrous and non-ferrous metals from the Republic of Moldova. The businessman uncovered several schemes and organized protests, demanding the liquidation of the metal export monopoly held by the democratic leader, Vlad Plahotniuc.

Eșanu was released in the summer of 2019, after the withdrawal of the PDM from the government.

This article is made within the project "Consolidation of the rule of law and ensuring the transparency of the judicial system", implemented by A.O. "Lawyers for human rights" with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy, which in no way influences the subject and content of the published investigations.


Viorica Mija

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