Streleț Government: interests, business and assets

Author: Victoria Dodon
30/07/2015 27869

The government led by Valeriu Strelet voted for by liberal democrats, democrats and liberals, is made up of several new names, but which are not unaffiliated to politics. Most new-old ministers were featured in previous investigations of the Center for Investigative Journalism which revealed hidden interests and businesses run by their families.

Valeriu Streleț – Prime Minister

Valeriu Streleț has been an MP since 2009. Although he has been involved in politics for years, the premier also has run lucrative businesses and a part of his wealth acquired while he was in Parliament.

The politician is the sole owner of Bioprotect Ltd. The company specializes in the delivery of a range of services for agricultural producers. The company supplies products for plant protection, seeds, seed and planting material, personal protective equipment etc. During 2014 the company won three public tenders with a total value of almost 400,000 lei. During this period the company earned dividends of over four million lei.

In his income statement for 2014 Valeriu Streleț also indicated that his wife Aurelia Braguta holds 100% of shares in Universul Dezvoltarii Ltd carrying out several activities such as tourism, research and development in social and humanitarian sciences or trade. Aurelia Braga also holds another 5% at Mobil AB Construct Ltd, a company engaged, among others, in construction, trade and design. The other 95% belong to Anatol Braguta, brother in law of Valeriu Streleț. The latter two companies are registered at the same address on Miron Costin Street, an apartment belonging to Streleț family.

The candidate for prime minister owns two apartments and a house with an area of about 170 square meters put into operation in 2012, which is valued at over two million lei. The family of the liberal democrat also has three land plots: two in Chisinau with an area of about 1,000 square meters and another one in Truseni village of 600 square meters.

Valeriu Streleț also has two Volkswagen Touaregs. The one manufactured in 2014 is worth over 1.2 million lei, while the other from 2012 – more than one million lei. The third car is a Volkswagen Polo, manufactured in 2012 and purchased in 2014.

In the 2014 election campaign the MP gave the Liberal Democratic Party 1.1 million lei. However, the seven employees of Bioprotect Company were also generous. They donated 30,000, 40,000 and 50,000 lei.

In 2013, were made public several scandalous telephone conversations between Nicolae Vicol, head of Tax Inspectorate at that time (subsequently sentenced to six years in prison), and several officials. In one of them, Valeriu Streleț gave Nicolae Vicol instructions on a Tax Inspectorate employee. Back then the politician was the leader of LDP in Parliament.

Liberal ministers

Corina Fusu – Minister of Education

The new Minister of Education, Liberal MP Corina Fusu, graduated in Biology, but is known more as a journalist who worked in the field for over 30 years. In her income statement for 2014 she showed over 160,000 lei as her MP salary and an allowance of 13,000 lei. Fusu also owns 0,064 ha in Anenii-Noi and an apartment of 86 square meters with a cadastral value of nearly half a million lei.

Over the years, Fusu was somehow forgetting to indicate in her income statements a company where she owns 10% of shares. This is “Alfort-Prim” Ltd, registered in 1999 and no longer operational, but remained in the register of the State Registration Chamber. According to official data, the company dealt with the retail trade on fee or contract basis, market research and public opinion survey, brokerage for selling a wide assortment of goods etc. Moreover, the company has its premises right in the MP’s apartment on Academiei Str. in Chisinau.

Iurie Chirinciuc – Minister of Transport

Ministry of Transport and Road Infrastructure will be led by the current Liberal MP and businessman Iurie Chirinciuc. Former owner of the football club FC Costuleni (his native village) and chairman of the district Liberal Party organization at Ungheni, Chirinciuc can be rightly called one of the richest ministers. He has several businesses in Moldova and Romania. He lives in the capital with his wife and two children in a house with an area of 255 square meters, has a GX470 Lexus, manufactured in 2005, and owns three plots of land in Iasi, Romania. There he also owns an apartment of 76 square meters and three other real estate objects. Iurie Chirinciuc is the sole shareholder of “Moldacom Group Ltd” corporation, located in Iasi, specializing in furniture manufacturing and where last year he received an income of almost 39,000 Romanian lei.

The company is run by his wife Tamara Chirinciuc who in 2013, according to Ziarul de Garda, was sentenced to eight months of probation in Romania for the fact that she had purchased furniture from San Marino and sold it in Estonia, without paying customs duties.

The liberal also owns shares in other five Moldovan companies, two of which deal with processing and preservation of fruit and vegetables, and other two – with furniture manufacturing, all based in Ungheni. Besides his salary obtained from Moldacom Group company, the liberal also indicates in his income statement an amount of over 52,000 lei, obtained from Rovigo Ltd, the company he run within 1998-2013, according to his resume. Moreover, the politician is the founder and former president of the Association of Furniture Producers in Moldova.

Anatol Salaru – Minister of Defense

Anatol Salaru, former minister of transport in 2009-2013, was appointed head of the Defense. According to the income statement for the last year, the liberal owns two apartments in Chisinau, of 55 and, respectively, 39 square meters, three agricultural plots, a bank deposit in the amount of 30,000 euros and drives a Mercedes manufactured in 1996. His wife, Carolina Salaru, owns FoodStock Ltd, based in Bucharest and an apartment of 186 square meters in the Romanian capital, where the whole family is established.

Over the years, Anatol Salaru held several positions in the financial group Ascom-Group of the billionaire Anatol Stati, being director of the Representative office in Turkmenistan (1997-1999) and Iraq (2003-2008).

His name is linked to “Refurbished European trains” scandal from Moldovan Railroads. More specifically, in 2012, when he was minister, was signed a contract of over 12 million euro with RMAR company from Pascani, Romania for complete renovation of five trains, however the trains were broken shortly after they had been upgraded. A criminal case was opened and closed shortly, for lack of evidence.

Valeriu Munteanu – Minister of Environment

Valeriu Munteanu, vice-president of the Liberal Party, holds a degree in law and prior becoming an MP in 2009 he was project manager within various civic associations, but also mayor in his native village, Floreni, Anenii-Noi (2007).

Last year he had an income of over 150,000 lei from MP wages and nearly 116,000 lei from allowances. The liberal has a house in Floreni, with an area of 220 square meters.

Gheorghe Brega – deputy prime minister

The new deputy prime minister for social issues is the current liberal MP Gheorghe Brega. For many years he worked in the Oncological Institute, and in 2009 decided to engage in politics, becoming MP on the LP list. In 2014, Brega had a salary of over 155,000 lei as a parliamentarian, and another 100,000 were obtained from allowances and pensions. The MP owns land outside Criuleni, Dubasari, an apartment of 78 square meters, a garage and an Opel Astra manufactured in 1998.

Brega’s name is related to a scandal on the pharmaceutical market, recalls Thus, in summer 2012 the MP accused the Romanian pharmaceutical company Balkan Pharmaceuticals of producing poor quality drugs, favoritism in registration of its medicines and winning tenders for the purchase of drugs by state medical institutions, although proposing higher prices. The Romanian company said that MPs accusations are unfounded, implying that Brega himself would have interests on the pharmaceutical market and protect certain pharmaceutical companies.

Democrat Ministers

Ruxanda Glavan – Minister of Health

Ruxandra Glavan comes to administration of the Ministry of Health from the chair of the Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family, the post held until 18 February 2015. Until then, she was deputy minister in the same institution for two years. With medical degree and an MBA at Grenoble University, France, she gave up her career as a doctor and launched herself in business.

Between 2006-2013, Ruxandra Glavan was director of Glavirux Ltd specializing in the import and distribution of medical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs, cosmetics and personal hygiene products. The company came to public attention when the lawyer Ana Ursachi accused Glavan in 2013 that she would was involved in a scheme for smuggling blood glucose measurement devices to Moscow, Russia.

Although she is no longer managing the business, Ruxandra Glavan remains the sole shareholder of the company. According to the Public Procurement Agency, from 2012 up till now, Glavirux Ltd concluded at least 120 public procurement contracts, providing equipment and medical tests to medical institutions throughout Moldova, in amounts from a few tens to a few hundred thousand lei. Among them are three contracts and three additional price increase contracts concluded with the Center Medical Association in Chisinau, whose chief is the mother of Ruxanda Glavan, Adela Glavan.

Ruxanda Glavan lives with her husband Aureliu Cincilei, vice-governor of the National Bank of Moldova, in a luxury villa in Riscani sector of Chisinau. The house with a total area of 349 square meters is estimated to be worth nine million lei according to real estate experts. According to the income statement for 2013, the spouses also have a house, two apartments, two cars, a Toyota and Lexus, three plots of land and 16 bank accounts.

In 2014, the National Integrity Commission decided to initiate a control on Aureliu Cincilei for the infringement of income and property declaration system for 2013 and in May that year NIC found that he had not included in the income statement several cars and 30 bank accounts held jointly with his wife. However, NIC decided to close the case, on the grounds of “no deliberate infringement.”

Vladimir Cebotari – Minister of Justice

Vladimir Cebotari, the new Minister of Justice, has not been involved in this field until now. He is known to the public notably as one of the highest paid state managers. In 2012, as manager at AIR Moldova, Chisinau International Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority, he assembled an annual salary of 800,000 lei. After two years of Deputy Minister of Transport, in April 2015, following a competition organized by the Board of Directors of Railroads, he becomes director of the institution.

Earlier, the portal Moldova Curată (Clean Moldova) wrote that Vladimir Cebotari forgot to indicate his income from the shares in three companies: Vlaconic Ltd (95%) and C & V Support Ltd (50%), and Neaos Ltd, firm specializing in the sale of agricultural and industrial machinery, where he holds 15% of shares.

According to the State Registration Chamber, in 2012 the company had revenues of 8.912 million lei. However, in the income statement for 2012, Vladimir Cebotari did not list the firm. The NIC investigated the case, but noted an absence of any violation and closed the case.

Former head of Railways has an apartment in Chisinau, but lives in a house with two levels, owning only half of the building. However, he did not indicate the cadastral value of the house in his income statement, saying that it is not finished, says Moldova Curata.

Monica Babuc – Minister of Culture

Monica Babuc has no companies registered in her name, but her husband Anatolie Babuc, deputy director of logistics department at Moldtelecom, is the founder of Building Line Ltd and Bazis-D Ltd. In December 2013, Building Line company lost a lawsuit filed by Investprivatbank, financial institution under liquidation procedure. Thus, the parliamentarian husband’s company had to pay 11.7 million lei, of which seven million lei represented a credit not returned on time and almost four million lei, as penalties.

Vasile Bîtcă – Minister of Regional Development and Construction

Vasile Bîtcă remains Minister of Regional Development and Construction. He began his career in the subdivisions of the Ministry of Interior. After 2007 local elections he became deputy mayor in Nisporeni. In 2011 was elected as President of Nisporeni District.

The official owns a 160 square meter house in Nisporeni, and ten agricultural plots with an area of six hectares. In 2013, the minister bought a 80 square meter apartment in downtown Chisinau, on Lev Tolstoy Street and at parliamentary elections in November 2014 he donated 80,000 lei to the Democratic Party. Both transactions can be explained by a loan of 720,000 lei taken from Victoriabank in 2013, for a period of 15 years.

Minister’s family manages Pabinis-Com Ltd, based in Nisporeni. The Ltd is registered to Nina and Lyudmila Pohomea, sister and niece of the minister. However, Natalia, wife of the minister, is an employee of this firm. Since 2013, only in two years, the company concluded at least 16 contracts with the City Hall and District Council of Nisporeni.

Stephen Bride – Minister of Economy

Stephen Bride was born in Dakar, Senegal, and obtained Moldovan citizenship in 2013. In 2001-2005 he was executive director of the audit company “Ernst and Young” (EY) Moldova / Eastern Europe, and in 2005 -2010, director of EY Moldova. In 2005, an employee of a competing company, the current Minister of Economy founded, together with his wife Olesea Bride, Grant Thornton Audit Ltd specializing in the audit of companies. In 2009, with his wife, Stephen Bride also founded a consulting firm in real estate assessment, Grant Thorton Ltd. The companies are part of the Grant Thornton brand Moldova, a representative office of Grant Thorton International LTD.

In 2010, current Minister leaves EY Moldova, one of the top four global audit companies and chooses to manage and expand Grant Thorton Company in Moldova and Romania. The minister’s company audited, among others, Banca de Economii, Unibank and Banca Sociala. “The company gave generally favorable opinions to the three banks, although the transgressions from these banks have impacted the whole society “, the economic expert Vasile Tofan recalls.

Grant Thornton firm is registered in a building on 69 Grigore Ureche Street, in the capital city. The building belongs to Bride spouses and in July 2014 was pledged to Moldinconbank for a loan of 276,000 euros (about five million lei) and 451,204 lei. At the same address are registered the other two companies founded and run by the Minister of Economy. G & G Solar 1 Ltd was founded in March 2013 and deals with installation of solar panels.

Last year, the company won an EBRD-financed project for the construction of a photovoltaic park (solar panels) on the territory of Porsche Centre near Chisinau. G & G Wind SRL, founded by Bride and a French citizen, Jeremy Besnier is also registered at 69 Grigore Ureche Street. The company was founded in 2014 and specializes in implementing energy efficiency projects.

Pavel Filip – Minister of informational technology and communications

Pavel Filip, the new-old Minister of Information Technology and Communications, has no firms in his name. Dignitary’s wife, Tatiana Filip, however, is the founder of Aluprofmet, dealing with production of aluminum and plasterboard profiles. The MP’s two sons, who received their education abroad, are also in business. Iulian and Dumitru together hold 99% of BUREX LLC, the one that manages Ciocoville chocolate shop, known as “chocolate city” on Stefan cel Mare Av. Dumitru Filip is the founder of another Ltd, Interasig-group.

Between 1991-2008 he worked at “Bucuria” factory and run the enterprise from 2001 to 2008. Subsequently, he took over management of “Tutun-CTC” company. The Minister arrived in sight of NIC after Ziarul National newspaper wrote that Pavel Filip brought for sale a house at the price of 179,000 euros. The same source said that in the income statement for 2012 the public official indicated that the house is worth over 943.000 lei (about 50,000 euros). The Commission closed the case, establishing that the official did not violate the law.

Reporters of the Center for Investigative Journalism have previously written that Pavel Filp is one of the officials who leased the forest in Danceni-Sociteni area.

Victor Osipov – deputy prime minister

Current deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov is a journalist by profession. From 2009 to 2010, he occupied the same position in Filat 1 Government, candidate of ”Alianta Moldova Noastra” (AMN).

After he left AMN Party in 2011, media published information that Osipov was the advisor of Vlad Plahotniuc. In parliamentary elections in 2014, Osipov was the campaign manager of Democratic Party. The official, with his wife, Dorina Osipov, is the founder of “Odoras” Ltd, which owns a magazine for children run by the wife of Deputy Prime Minister.

According to CIJ, Osipov is the founder of Advertising and trade agency”Promo and Punctum” which founded DTV station (democracy and transparency in television). It was broadcast by cable, financed by the Department of Romanians from Everywhere. Ion Terguta, one of the directors of this TV station, told journalists that Osipov had not control over the advertising agency, respectively of DTV, being just one of the owners, and “did not receive any dividend or other financial benefit, the TV station being virtually bankrupted by communists in 2008 “.

Officially, Osipov is the manager of condominium Nr. 52/22 on Studentilor street 4/2, although residents of this block say he does not live in the area.

Liberal democrat ministers

Ion Sula – Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry

Ion Sula became Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry coming from the National Food Safety Agency under the Ministry. He’s been working in the institution since the end of 2009, when he stepped down as director of “S & S COM”, which he founded in August 2003.

The minister is involved in the founding and managing the farmhouse Sula Ion Nicolae, which he managed for a while with his father, Nicolae. The press wrote earlier about the successes of the farmhouse, which owns land where they grow vegetables, grow seedlings of fruit and vegetables in greenhouses.

“The money is from Rural Finance Corporation and commercial banks. We have also benefited from grants from the fund for subsidizing agricultural producers”, said Nicolae Sula, father of the current minister in 2012, for “Timpul” newspaper. According to reports of the Payments and Intervention Agency in Agriculture, the farmhouse several times received state subsidies (200,000 lei in 2011), the last time in 2014, nearly 35,000 lei.

In income statements, Sula indicated that, in 2013, he sold his share in S & S Com company, with several activities in agriculture, but it is continued to be managed by his mother, Susana Sula.

Oleg Balan – Minister of the Interior

Oleg Balan who remained the head of the Ministry of the Interior has not had too many ties with the institution he leads, other than as lecturer, head of department and dean of the Faculty of Law at “Stefan cel Mare” Academy of the Ministry; he used to be also director of the Ministry’s military school around year 2000.

Oleg Balan first arrived in Parliament as member of the Liberal Democrat Party. Then Ziarul de Garda wrote that he is one of the founders of Sterimed Com Company, along with Vadim Ojog and a company with the same name in Romania. The Ltd has interests in the pharmaceutical field. Through another trader, Balan was also involved in agriculture. Together with his brother, Victor, in November 2013 they founded Bivona Ltd, a company specializing in agricultural crops.

In the latest income statement Balan indicated that he has purchased eight agricultural plots. After becoming MP, then Minister, he gave up his share of the two Companies. However, Oleg Balan has three apartments and an Audi A6, manufactured in 2012.

Anatol Arapu – Minister of Finance

Anatol Arapu, remained at the Ministry of Finance, he had held this position in 1998-1999 in Premier Ion Sturza’s team, sacked in 1999 by Communist and PPCD votes. During that period Anatol Arapu was criticized for liquidation of the Financial Guard. Through a Government decision, the Financial Guard was transferred from the Financial Control and Audit Department to the State Tax Inspectorate, with the stated aim of improving tax collection. Then press wrote that the reorganization had the purpose and effect of killing this structure, not to achieve certain financial interests.

In 1998, Minister of Finance was criticized for the fact that under direct pressure of the management of the institution, the Customs Service favored a number of economic operators which were allowed deferred payment of taxes, including VAT, even if they had debts to the budget for not paying taxes. Only at Chisinau customs in 1998 were concluded over 650 contracts of VAT deferred payments, the budget being inflicted a damage of one billion lei.

The press wrote then that after a letter signed by people from the Ministry of Finance, Chisinau Customs allowed Clas-S Ltd company to import a batch of coal, without charging VAT, although the firm had already VAT debts to the budget amounting to 1,048,400 lei. Following a letter of the Minister of Finance, Anatol Arapu, the Glass Factory in Chisinau was allowed to continue import-export operations, although it had a VAT debt of 928,000 lei.

Natalia Gherman – Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration

Natalia Gherman holds the same post since May 2013. A philologist and diplomat, she is the daughter of the first President of the Republic of Moldova, Mircea Snegur. A former ambassador of Moldova in Austria (2002 – 2006), in Sweden, Norway and Finland (2006-2009) and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration (2009-2013).

In 2014 Natalia Gherman obtained nearly 207,000 lei in wages, while her ex-husband, Artur Gherman, who until recently held the position of Chairman of the National Financial Market Commission, had a salary of 611,000 lei. Gherman couple has an apartment of 100 square meters in Chisinau, a Land Rover, make of 2008. Similarly, Artur Gherman has shares in Apple, and Natalia Gherman is a shareholder in Fiting JV, which manufactures metal items.

Mircea Buga – Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family

Until recently Minister of Health, Mircea Buga has exchanged seats with Ruxanda Glavan and becomes Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family.

In 2014, Mircea Buga reported as income an amount of about 248,000 lei, money earned at the time of his running the National Health Insurance Company, job held for nearly six years and nearly 50,000 lei from teaching at Medical University “Nicolae Testemitanu” and the WHO Regional Office. Buga family owns an apartment of 108 square meters, which cadastral value is nearly one million lei, another apartment of about 46 square meters and an office. Buga also declared seven bank accounts, three loans and shares in Mezon JV, Botanica JV and Printing House ”Tipar Color”.

In 2013, the Buga was checked by NIC, suspect of having admitted a conflict of interest when he signed the new list of subsidized drugs. The dignitary came in sight of the Commission when in Parliament were talks about the fact that the new list incorporated new medicines that were brought into the country exclusively by companies that belong to the management of the Ministry of Health. Andrei Usatii, Minister of Health at the time, gave assurances that the subsidized drugs list was drawn up in a transparent manner.

Loretta Handrabura – Ministry of Youth and Sports

Loretta Handrabura becomes Minister of Youth and Sports after nearly six years she has served as deputy minister of Education. Officially she can be called the poorest minister in the new Cabinet. She has neither business, nor cars or luxury homes.

The income statement for 2014 indicated that she owns one apartment, with an area of about 42 square meters. Over the past year, Handrabura Loretta had a salary of about 150,000 lei.

This investigation has been produced as part of the campaign “Journalists Advocating Integrity in Public Service” carried out by the Center for Investigative Journalism, with the support of the Good Governance Project of Soros Foundation Moldova. The donor does not influence in any way the subject or content of the investigations published.

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