The criminal case filed on behalf of Ilan Shor for involvement in bank fraud will be examined by the Chisinau Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Justice admitted the request of Shor's lawyers regarding the transfer of the case from the Cahul Court of Appeal to the Chisinau Court of Appeal, after previously rejecting the relocation requests 9 times in a row.
The SCJ argued its decision by the need to "remove situations that endanger the normal conduct of criminal proceedings due to inappropriate facts." The Minister of Justice, Sergiu Litvinenco stated that there are certain suspicions regarding the correctness of the SCJ's decision, nevertheless, he welcomed the decision. The General Prosecutor's Office disapproved the decision to relocate the Shor case on the grounds that the examination will have to be resumed from the beginning.
Vitalie Zama, lawyer at LHR: The Supreme Court stressed that in previous instances when the party requested to transfer the case to a different Court of Appeal, it mentioned individual situations of incompatibility, which could not constitute a reason to transfer the case to a different court. However, in the instant case, the author of the request invoked collective suspicions of the Cahul Court of Appeal, in virtue of some circumstances which are not related to the examination of the case as such. The respective suspicions generated an apparent lack of independence of all judges of the respective court.
The Supreme Court considered that appearance in mass media of a video where a lawyer was transmitting a bag to the rapporteur judge on the case, the public discussion of this circumstance, and the public opinion of disapproval, had obviously led to erosion of the public opinion regarding the independence not only of one judge but also of all magistrates of this court. The Court also concluded that these appearances were accentuated by the acceptance of this situation by the other magistrates of the court, which inevitably leads to the irreversible damage to the image of an independent court in resolving this case.