New Airline Fly One and Private Interests of the Civil Aviation Authority Director, Confirmed by ISS
Mircea Maleca, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is allegedly the real business partner of the family of Ministry of Justice Vladimir Cebotari in the new airline company Fly One. The official is hiding behind his former father- in-law from Leova. This is confirmed by a letter signed by Mihai Balan, Director of the Information and Security Service (ISS), that recently came into possession of portal Anticoruptie.md. Although its authenticity is not confirmed, ISS heads claim in an official response that the CAA managers abuse power by promoting private interests in civil aviation, which would be contrary to state interests.
According to the document attached to a notification on the Corruption Map, head of CAA Mircea Maleca owns a share in Fly One company that operate flights as of the beginning of this month, through an affiliated person. Anticoruptie.md wrote previously in an investigation that the company, registered in autumn last year, has among its founders Maria Cebotari, wife of the current Minister of Justice Vladimir Cebotari, while his sister Mariana Tabuica is the new executive director. According to data of the State Registration Chamber, Maria Cebotari owns a participation quota of 40% (200.000 lei), while the Romanian Nicu Adrian Berla known in Romania as one of the shareholders of the Fly Level Company, specialized in pilotage training and training of flight attendants, contributed in the business with 20%.
Tudor Carabadjac, teacher of Physical Education (PE) and former director of the gymnasium in village Orac, district Leova owns another 40% in this company. With his help, family Maleca became affiliated founder of the new air company. More exactly, daughter of Tudor Carabadjac, Ina Maleca, is the former wife of the director of the CAA, currently Associate Professor at the Faculty of Accounting and Economic Computer Science at the Cooperative-Commercial University in Moldova.
In 2011, her father was elected district councilor in Leova on the lists of the Democratic Party in Moldova, and the 2014 income statement shows that the teacher received 61.111 lei from the activity of director, has 3 plots, owns a house with a surface of 100 square meters and a car Dacia Sandero, 2013 bought in the same year at the price of 147.000 lei. Contacted by Anticoruptie.md, the man said: "It is not your business. Good bye."
The same document which anticoruptie.md took possession of, shows that on the background of some historical debts of the State Enterprise Air Moldova, Mircea Maleca was planning to cease extension of operating permits of some of the most profitable routes of the operator: Bologna, Antalya, Milan, Venice and Verona, which would be ceded to company Fly One.
In case these intentions materialize, Air Moldova (current leader on the local market of air transportation) will have serious financial losses, its market value might reduce up to 60%, writes the letter. Otherwise, some of the aforementioned destinations are part of 11 flights promised by Fly One early in April. Meanwhile, the airline announced the official launch on April 30 in a posting on its Facebook page: "We are ready! Welcome on board with Fly One!"
This is despite the fact that the operator's official website has not yet been released, and the company’s name is missing from the list of operators certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Republic of Moldova, updated on March 30. It is worth mentioning that Fly One wrote in its leaflets that own the necessary fleet - modern Airbus A320 aircraft with a capacity of 172 seats and a reserve plane Boeing 737-300 with 148 seats. According to the price list for 2016 Airbus manufacturer, a plane A320 costs 98 million dollars. We tried to find if the aircrafts are new and have been purchased or leased, but Fly One representatives did not accept to discuss about it.
The letter that came into possession of Anticoruptie.md portal:
Abuse of power by the Civil Aviation Authority
Information and Security Service has not confirmed or denied the authenticity of the document. "There are certain legal requirements that do not allow us to give you an answer to your expectations. It is about many aspects, including in terms of respect to privacy and the presumption of innocence,” said the deputy director of ISS Ruslan Munteanu in a phone call. Instead, representatives of the institution confirm that the leadership of the Civil Aviation Authority abuse of power by promoting private interests in civil aviation, which is contrary to state interests.
"Our information shows undermining the state enterprise Air Moldova’s potential through influence, in order to favor private interests in the area, including by using levers assigned to CAA to issuance / extension of permits", writes a reply of ISS for portal Anticoruptie.md.
Also, representatives from the Information and Security Service say that they own information about how the leadership of the Civil Aviation Authority brokered dubious transactions between some airlines.
Director of CAA Mircea Maleca denies of having ever expressed abusive behavior to Air Moldova company. "On the contrary, most times certificates and permissions are considered priority and they are issued within the term set by analysis, creating all favorable conditions for the national airliner to operate without deviation", said the official for Anticoruptie. md. He underlined that he had no family relationship with the founder of the company Fly One Tudor Carabadjac.
Also, Sergiu Bucataru, deputy minister of Transportation and member of the administration Council of Air Moldova did not want to comment on the information of representatives from ISS. "I do not have any evidence that would show direct intentions of harming Air Moldova, and in the absence of documents that would confirm the accusations, it is not fair to comment on it", said the deputy minister. According to him, the economic situation in the state operator is getting better. "According to financial reports, including the one for March, Air Moldova continues to get a rise in revenues. This is due to the increase of passenger flow and the level of aircraft loading. New routes have been opened lately. All these circumstances have a positive impact on the company and I hope that it will recover and will reach a normal activity determined only by profit ", said Sergiu Bucataru.
Also, the official admitted that Fly One is a competitor of Air Moldova, "especially that intends to operate shared destinations", but in his view, the spirit of competition has advantages. "The appearance of a company will have a positive impact for the citizens, because we can expect price reductions to attract customers", says Sergiu Bucataru.
The official reply addressed to portal Anticoruptie.md:
On her turn, Ina Maleca denied the fact that her father is an affiliate of the company Fly One SRL, saying that this is gossip. "Why are you interested in my private life? You would like to write about gossips that ultimately will not be true? Before writing an article, put yourself in someone’s shoes. Do not interfere in my private life. All I read are gossips, nothing is true”, she said.
With a wage of over 62.000 MDL and illegal companies
The current Director of the Civil Aviation Authority was chairperson of Air Moldova during July 2013 - August 2015, previously holding the position of Financial Director. Last August, he resigned, justifying his decision by personal reasons. Mircea Maleca and Vladimir Cebotari worked together at the state company Air Moldova, where during 2006 - 2011 the current minister was Director of the Legal department. Cebotari was Head of the Civil Aviation Authority as of December 2011 to June 2013.
Maleca is publicly known as one of the best paid functionaries by the state. In 2015, he received an income of 747.948 lei from salary, over 62.000 lei per month. The functionary owns a car Audi, purchased in 2011 at the price of 635.250 lei, a car BMW purchased in 2013 at the price of 425.000 lei and 600.000 lei on a bank account opened in 2005.
According to the income statement, last year Maleca gained 300,000 MDL after he sold his 58 square meters flat in Buiucani sector, which he owned together with his former wife. He did not declare any other real estate, building or land. As of 2010, the Malecas owned another 96 square meters apartment, estimated at half of million MDL, which as of 2012 is owned by his wife as a result of the contract on ending joint property.
The current Director of the Civil Aviation Authority declared a share of 50% in a Romanian trade company – Avella SRL. However, as in 2014, he forgot to declare the companies he created in Moldova, about which Anticoruptie.md wrote earlier. Thus, the Data of the State Registration Chamber shows that Maleca is the founder of four companies. Together with Vladimir Țopa and Natalia Pivovarova he created in 1997, SRL Fortissimo-Comerț. The company was specializing in accounting. Another company Maleca appears as co-founder is the newspaper Независимая газета SRL, created in 2001 together with Alexandr Kazakov, Victor Staric and Iuri Tiscenco, who is the manager of the company. Also, Mircea Maleca is the founder and manager of the enterprise “Mircea Maleca” created in 2001, specialized in terrestrial transport services. The fourth company Mircea Maleca is co-founder of is SRL Breitman Grup, created in 2014 together with Marcel Tanas and Vera Sîrbu. The company has many fields of activity, including the trade with food products. It is managed by the brother of the Director of the Civil Aviation Authority, Eugeniu Maleca.
This investigation was carried out within the framework of the Campaign "Journalists for Transparency in Public Funds Management", implemented by the Center for Investigative Journalism with the support of the Good Governance Program of Soros Moldova Foundation. The subject and content of published investigations do not necessarily reflect the views of the donor.
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