Nine months after they started to check the property of the Deputy Prosecutor General Ruslan Popov, the integrity inspectors of the National Integrity Authority (ANI) have not issued a statement yet. An answer sent by ANI to the Center of Investigative Journalism (CIJM) shows that the control procedure is still at the stage of collecting and analysis of evidence.
"The examination of a file on property control is much broader and more complex, compared to controls performed on violations of other legal regimes. Within the property control, evidentiary materials are collected throughout the position held by the subject, based on which the integrity inspector can assess and formulate the content of the finding, including the final decision", reads the reply by ANI.
Earlier this year, CIJM published two investigations about Ruslan Popov's property and his business that is registered in his father name, who is retired. The investigation into Ruslan Popov's property revealed the three-level house, valued by experts at least two million lei, which the prosecutor passed in the statement on property and personal interests at the price of 111,000 lei. The investigation also showed that, in 2014, Popov donated to his in-laws a plot of land on which they built a construction of over 160 square meters. In the 2018 statement on property, Ruslan Popov reported that in 2014, he borrowed 10,000 euros from his father-in-law, and two years later, 50,000 euros from his mother-in-law, debts that he assumed to pay within 20 years. It's just that Ion Oprea died a few years ago.
The second day after the investigation was published, the General Prosecutor's Office issued a press release that showed that Ruslan Popov insisted that the properties referred to in the article, except the house and the Hyundai Santa Fe cars, did not belong to him, but to his parents, together with his brother's family and his in-laws contributed as well. Ruslan Popov insisted that his property was due to his in-laws from the village of Utkonosovka, Izmail district, Ukraine, which is why, the CIJM reporters were in the locality where they found that they lived a modest life.
Following the publication of the investigation, General Prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo requested the National Integrity Authority to check Ruslan Popov’s property in order to avoid "misinterpretations and aberrations". According to a press release from the Prosecutor General's Office, the prosecutor general made this decision at the request of Ruslan Popov.
On the other hand, ANI representatives said that the integrity inspectors started checking Ruslan Popov's property, almost three weeks before the prosecutor general's request, after the Center for Analysis and Prevention of Corruption was notified.
Subsequently, Ruslan Popov sued the Moldovan Center of Investigative Journalism for violating honor and dignity.