In the wake of CIJM investigations// 4-month vacation in the file of the former head of SIS, Vasile Botnari
Colaj CIJM

The examination of the criminal case in which the former SIS director, Vasile Botnari, is accused of illicit enrichment has been postponed for four months. The examination will resume in October, exactly one year after the first court hearing, following several postponements and interruptions. The criminal case against Botnari was initiated based on a journalistic investigation carried out by the team of the Center for  Investigative Journalism. wrote about the luxurious lifestyle in which the former director of the Intelligence and Security Service (SIS) lives. Both the land and the buildings became Botnari's property while he held high positions of public office, as he was one of Vladimir Plahotniuc's close associates and protégés. Despite residing there for many years, the former civil servant never declared these properties, as they were registered under the names of his in-laws.

The criminal case was sent to the Chisinau Court, Buiucani headquarters, at the end of September 2022. The ex-director of SIS, Vasile Botnari, is being tried together with his mother-in-law, who is accused of complicity.

According to the prosecutors, Vasile Botnari allegedly devised a plan to acquire cars and houses through intermediaries and register them under the names of his relatives or trusted individuals. As a result, immovable properties with a total value of over 24.5 million lei were identified, along with automobiles worth over 4 million lei. In light of this, the anti-corruption prosecutors obtained authorization from the investigating judge to apply seizure measures on these assets for possible special confiscation.

"The incriminated acts occurred between 2014 and 2019. During this period, the accused held consecutive positions of public office (in Parliament, Government, and SIS) and used third parties, including his mother-in-law and daughter, to purchase assets whose value far exceeded the accused's financial means. For instance, during the period of 2014-2019, the mother-in-law, a pensioner, had a total income of approximately 329,000 lei, yet she managed to accumulate real estate worth over 19 million lei. The daughter, who had no income during that period, acquired an apartment, a parking space, and a car with a total value of over 5.9 million lei," state the accusers.

The investigation conducted by the reporters of the Center for Journalistic Investigations in March 2021 uncovered the fact that Vasile Botnari acquired his current lands and buildings during his tenure in high-ranking public positions. He was known as one of Vladimir Plahotniuc's close associates and protégés.

As a civil servant, Vasile Botnari never disclosed any property in his asset declarations. He only reported his salary income, despite his family's involvement in various businesses where his wife, Natalia, appeared as an administrator. Since May 2004, he has owned a 30% share in SRL Vabaro Lux, a company specializing in the sale of wood and carpentry articles.

In 2008, Natalia Botnari established the company A & N SERVICE, which provides services, and she has always been the sole administrator of the enterprise. In 2019, the company generated a turnover of 1.33 million lei.

In 2014, Vasile Botnari's wealth came under scrutiny by the National Integrity Authority. The Finding Act, signed by Alexandru Donciu, states that Vasile Botnari did not violate the legal requirements regarding the declaration of income and properties.

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