No traces of suspicions on the wealth of the former deputy head of the Chisinau City Prosecutor

Tatiana Gherța
colaj CIJM

All suspicions surrounding the wealth acquired by the former Deputy Head of the Chisinau City Prosecutor's Office, Adrian Popenco, have been dispelled by the integrity inspector. Nearly three years after the initiation of the examination of the report, the National Integrity Authority (ANI) issued a statement of findings regarding the former accuser. The basis of the report was an extensive investigation by the Center for Investigative Journalism into the luxurious life of the accuser.

In an investigation by the portal, reporters wrote that Adrian Popenco resides in an enviable house in an upscale neighborhood in the town of Dumbrava, near the capital, and drives a latest-generation Mercedes. However, the lawman claimed that nothing belongs to him. According to his statements, the house belongs to his in-laws, and the car belongs to a generous relative.

He provided similar explanations to ANI, at least regarding the residential house.

"The house where the family lives is owned by my in-laws with property rights and was built by them, being put into operation in 2003, situated on a plot of land with an area of 0.0652 hectares that they obtained during the same period. Neither my wife nor I have carried out any additional construction and/or reconstruction works on this building during the period of 2014 until the present, except for insignificant maintenance and cosmetic repairs of minor and low value," stated the former accuser for the integrity inspector.

As for the Mercedes E 250 model car, manufactured in 2012 and purchased in 2015, for which he did not indicate the purchase price in the 2015-2018 asset declarations, the former prosecutor stated that he did not know what amount he should indicate, which is why he decided to omit its declaration.

"This (the Mercedes E 250 car) was mentioned in the annual declarations of assets and interests during the years 2015-2018; however, its value was not indicated due to the reason that we lack certainty, and from the prevailing legal provisions over time, it was not unequivocally apparent which amount I should indicate—either the amount from the car's procurement document or its value at the time of preparing the annual income statement. The value of the mentioned car amounts to 7000 euros (equivalent to the sum of 146,160 lei according to the average exchange rate established by the National Bank of Moldova for the month of July 2015), paid to the seller XXXXX, and later, in 2018, this car was sold to XXXXX for the sum of 150,000 lei," was Popenco's explanation.

The explanations proved to be reasonable, thus, by analyzing the data from the asset and personal interest declarations submitted for the years 2016-2020, "the integrity inspector did not identify any omissions, incomplete or erroneous data provided by the subject under inspection when completing them."

"Summarizing the described circumstances, based on the information and documents obtained during the current control procedure, combined with the viewpoint and justifications presented regarding the deficiencies detected in Mr. Adrian Popenco's asset and personal interest declarations, the integrity inspector dispels reasonable suspicion of committing any potential offenses," concluded the integrity inspector.

It should be noted that in January 2022, the former Deputy Head of the Chisinau City Prosecutor's Office, Adrian Popenco, resigned from his position and also submitted a request to leave the system. Popenco justified his departure from the system by stating his desire to explore other activities.

Adrian Popenco began his career at the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office in 2007. He was appointed Deputy Head of the respective institution in November 2013. In the fall of 2015, he came to public attention after receiving and registering the complaint of Ilan Șor against former Prime Minister Vlad Filat.

In the autumn of 2020, Popenco was accused by a former employee of the National Anticorruption Center, Ruslan Harcenco, of being one of the beneficiaries of a bribe of 100,000 euros offered at the beginning of 2016 by the President of the Basketball Federation of Moldova, Octavian Vucol, who was accused in a fraud case. The law enforcement officer denied the accusation.

Tatiana Gherța

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