Impact of a journalistic investigation: Former lawyer Ala Popa, accused in the case of illicit enrichment of prosecutor Igor Popa

Julieta Saviţchi
Colaj CIJM

Former lawyer Ala Popa allegedly was an accomplice of the former deputy general prosecutor, Igor Popa, in the case for illicit enrichment. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office issued an indictment against Ala Popa.

The information was confirmed for the portal by sources from the Prosecutor's Office. The press officer of the General Prosecutor's Office, Mariana Cherpec, could not confirm the information, motivating that the prosecutor in charge of the case refuses to provide details.

Last autumn, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office filed a criminal case for illicit enrichment against Igor Popa, after they took act of the investigations of the Center for Investigative Journalism in Moldova. Shortly afterwards, the prosecutors started a case against Igor Popa for false information in the statements on property, which reached the magistrates' table. In July 2020, the portal published the investigation VIDEO// Fictious divorce and the hidden property of the prosecutor Igor Popa”, about how Igor Popa resorted to a fictious divorce in order to hide his properties which he could not have covered from his salary as a prosecutor.

The investigation turned into a fight for several years between the Center for Investigative Journalism, the author of the investigation and a civic activist and the prosecutor's wife. Ala Popa really harassed us right from the first investigation we did. She wrote complaints to several state institutions, to the Press Council, to the Police and the Prosecutor's Office, she sued us. Some institutions reacted to the prosecutor's wife's complaints when the case was barely documented. Others have started criminal proceedings and even criminal cases.

Details about how the ex-wife of prosecutor Popa harassed the team of journalists from the moment she found that they documented in the Cadastre the properties, read in the article "CASE STUDY How the wife of a prosecutor tried to silence the journalists". Following the publication of the article, Ala Popa sent a preliminary request to sue the Center for Investigative Journalism.

We remind you that the Chisinau Court annulled the order not to initiate criminal proceedings issued by the Chisinau Prosecutor's Office regarding the authors and the Center for Investigative Journalism of Moldova (ICJM) who conducted and published the investigation "VIDEO // Fictitious divorce and the hidden property of prosecutor Igor Popa".

The decision was made by Magistrate Victor Răţoi from the Ciocana office of the Chisinau District Court, which is not far from the Prosecutor's Office where Igor Popa was chief until his detention by anti-corruption prosecutors. No one from the CIJM was invited to the court hearing, and we accidentally found out about the trial from a prosecutor.

Several media outlets, journalists, non-governmental organizations and representatives of state institutions have shown solidarity with journalists from the CIJM and criticized Răţoi's decision as a dangerous precedent.

Julieta Saviţchi

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