ANI inspectors have been checking the property of Deputy Prosecutor General Ruslan Popov for more than a year. What are the reasons for the delay

Mariana Colun

One year and two months have passed since the procedure for checking the property of the Deputy Prosecutor General Ruslan Popov started after a CIJM investigation was published, yet, the inspectors of the National Integrity Authority have not issued a finding. A comment for the reporters of the portal by the ANI spokesperson reads that the control procedure is still at the stage of collecting evidence.

"The actions taken by the integrity inspector are not public. Only when the violation is found or not, the document is issued and published on the ANI website. It is not about just inspector, he also requests information from other entities. Moreover, the inspector must get the subject's point of view, and respectively must prove any accusation. Control into property is a more complex control than others related to conflicts of interest or incompatibility. The inspector must get evidence for every detail of the control.

The delay is by no means determined by the ANI, there are some procedures and deadlines during the control, which the inspector must respect, because later the subjects challenge our documents in court ", said Maria Dastic, spokesperson of the National Integrity Authority.

We remind that on February 11, the deputy of the DA Platform in the Parliament, Inga Grigoriu sent a request to ANI about the control into the property of the deputy general prosecutor Ruslan Popov.

Early this year, the CIJM published two investigations about Ruslan Popov's property and his business which is registered in the name of his father, a retiree. The investigation into Ruslan Popov's property revealed the three-level house, valued by experts at about 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 would soon build a building 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 must pay within 20 years. It's just that Ion Oprea died a few years ago.

The day after the investigation was published, the Prosecutor General's Office issued a press release stating that Ruslan Popov insisted that the properties referred to in the article, with the exception of the house and Hyundai Santa Fe cars, did not belong to him, but to his parents, together with his brother's family, in-laws contributed as well. As Ruslan Popov insisted that his property was due to his in-laws from the village of Utkonosovka, Izmail district, Ukraine, the CIJM reporters were in that settlement and found that they lived a modest life.

Following the publication of the investigation, the General Prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo ordered the National Integrity Authority to check the property of his deputy in order to prevent "erroneous interpretations and aberrations". According to a press release of the General Prosecutor's Office, the General Prosecutor made this decision at the request of Ruslan Popov.

On the other hand, ANI representatives said that the integrity inspectors started checks into Ruslan Popov's property, almost three weeks before the prosecutor general's request, after it was notified by the Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Corruption.

Subsequently, Ruslan Popov sued the Moldovan Center for Investigative Journalism for harm to honor and dignity.

Mariana Colun

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