Prosecutors oppose the release of Plahotniuc's close man, former director of SIS Vasile Botnari

Ilie Gulca
Vasile Botnari

Anti-corruption prosecutors challenged on Wednesday in the Chisinau Court of Appeal a decision of the Chisinau Court based in Ciocana regarding the replacement of the pre-trial detention of the former director of the Intelligence and Security Service (SIS), Vasile Botnari, a close man of fugitive oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc, with house arrest. The criminal case against Botnari is based on an investigation by the Center for Investigative Journalism, which revealed that his current property was gained during his tenure as a public official.

Vasile Botnari was in pre-trial detention until June 20, when the Chisinau District Court based in Ciocana decided to replace his pre-trial detention with house arrest.

Prosecutors on Wednesday requested an extension of the pre-trial detention in the form of pre-trial detention for a period of 30 days, motivating the appeal by the unfoundedness of the June 20 court decision.

"When issuing the arrest warrant at home to the person concerned, the court did not give a proper assessment of the arguments put forward by the prosecutor, such as: the risk of the accused interfering in the normal course of justice, influencing and putting pressure on the witnesses which were not questioned yet, the destruction and deterioration of the evidence under the ongoing criminal investigation ", reads a press release of the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office.

On March 29, 2022, anti-corruption prosecutors searched four buildings and a car in a criminal case against illicit enrichment.

The former director of the SIS returned to the penitentiary at the end of April after the Chisinau Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Chisinau District Court, which placed him under house arrest.

Initially, Botnari executed his mandate in the isolator of the National Anticorruption Center, after which he was imprisoned at Penitentiary no. 13.

The close friend of the fugitive oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc is suspected that, in the period 2014-2019, while he served several public positions, he hid his income which he could not legally justify, by implementing a criminal plan consisting of procuring for himself movable and immovable property through intermediaries and the fictitious registration of the property right in the name of relatives or trusted persons.

According to an investigation conducted by reporters at the Center for Investigative Journalism in March 2021, Vasile Botnari's current land and real estate became his property during his tenure as one of Vladimir Plahotniuc's close man and protégés.

Vasile Botnari never reported any housing in his statement on property, signed as a civil servant. The former official declared only his salary income, though his family had  businesses and some of them were managed by his wife, Natalia.

Ilie Gulca

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