Judges with apartments for free
During the last five years (2012-2017), more than MDL 127 million were allocated from the Chisinau municipality budget to provide with apartments some persons who sued the City Hall asking for housing or for concluding reconciliation transactions with it. Among the beneficiaries of such apartments, but also of funds, there are also magistrates. Some of them, although they received apartments free of charge from the housing stock of Chisinau municipality, have enriched themselves in the meantime with other dwellings: some of these being purchased at preferential prices, others - bought at market price. There are also judges who have left the judiciary system shortly after they have got free apartments in the capital.
Five years ago, in December 2012, Nina Arabadji, current judge at the Chisinau District Court (Riscani) received a two-room apartment of more than 70 square meters in a block of flats on Alba Iulia Street in Chisinau. At the time of the request, Nina Arabadji's family consisted of two people: the judge and her daughter. The dwelling was granted to her based on a 2004 decision of the Center District Court, which the Municipal Council had to enforce. The court ordered the municipality to offer Nina Arabadji improved living conditions.
After two years, i.e. in 2014, after the judge came into possession of the apartment in the Buiucani sector, in her declaration of assets and personal interests for 2016, another apartment, with an area of over 56 square meters, with a cadastral value of over MDL 357 thousand appeared.
After one year, however, in 2015, the name of the judge, Nina Arabadji, was on the list of magistrates at the Chisinau District Court, Riscani headquarters, which have benefited from apartments purchased at preferential prices from EXFACTOR-GRUP. The new real estate was 82 square meters and is located in the Botanica sector of the capital. The real estate was bought for an amount of over EUR 29,520 thousand, i.e. EUR 360 per square meter, twice lower than the price on the primary real estate market.
The whole amount was contracted two years ago, and she was supposed to pay off the debt this year. In the assets declaration for 2016, the magistrate also indicates a debt of over MDL 400 thousand, to be repaid by 2023.
Three apartments in five years: one free of charge, another at preferential price
Hence, in just five years, the magistrate Nina Arabadji has benefited of three apartments: one offered by the municipality free of charge, another one at a preferential price, and the third one at market price. We have requested the magistrate's opinion through the press service of the Chisinau District Court. She was asked if the apartment on the Alba Iulia Street in Chisinau was in her own possession or in use. The Judge Arabadji was also asked from what sources is she going to pay off her debts indicated in the assets declaration if the maturity date is in just two years. No exact, but rather elusive, answers were given to these questions, referring to the Law on the declaration of assets and personal interests, but also to the Superior Council of Magistracy.
Judge Iovu - with a free of charge apartment in a new block
The magistrate at the Chisinau Court of Appeal, Gheorghe Iovu, also got a free of charge apartment located in the Buiucani district of Chisinau from the Chisinau Municipal Council (CMC). The apartment is located on Balkan Highway in the capital and has an area of 72 square meters. In this way, the CMC enforced the decision of the Chisinau Court of Appeal, whereby it ordered the municipality to provide an apartment free of charge in the capital to this magistrate. The peer judges decided to give the flat free of charge to the magistrate Iovu, even though at that time Iovu family already had an apartment, which owner was his wife.
Hence, currently, the family of the magistrate Gheorghe Iovu owns two apartments: one received from the CMC and another one received by donation by his wife.
Asked if the apartment offered free of charge by the municipality is in property or use, the magistrate replied that this is stated in his assets declaration, so he abstained from any comments.
In the declaration of assets and personal interests for 2016, the magistrate indicates an unfinished real estate, as well as a Volvo XC 90 model purchased in 2011 valued at over MDL 208 thousand. The magistrate bought his car in the year when he got the apartment from CMC.
Valentin Ilasco, neighbor of Gheorghe Iovu
In the same new block, the apartment of the former magistrate Valentin Ilasco is located, who also got an apartment distributed by the City Hall. An iron fence surrounds the new block, so as no strangers can enter the yard. A Christmas tree was arranged in front of the entrance, and at the staircase of the block, the flag of the Republic of Moldova is fluttering. The apartment of over 80 square meters was distributed by a decision in December 2011, but the judge came into its possession in 2012.
The former magistrate requested free of charge housing from the municipality, even though at that time, he had another apartment of over 80 square meters. After obtaining his home, Valentin Ilasco left the judiciary system. By a Decree dated February 2013, he was dismissed from the position of judge of the Riscani District Court in the capital. In another year, in April 2014, Valentin Ilasco obtained a lawyer's license.
Being asked why he had requested a free of charge apartment, if at that time, he already had a home; the magistrate did not want to answer, noting only that he still has the property in his possession but not in use. “There are already too many questions”, the former magistrate said briefly.
Judge Igor Manascurta refused to talk about the apartment
Another magistrate from CA Chisinau is waiting for a free of charge apartment. It is about Igor Manascurta. By the 2003 decision of the Chisinau Court of Appeal, the municipality was obliged to offer him housing. Until the municipality decided whether to offer the magistrate an apartment free of charge or not, the Judge Manascurta benefited from a dwelling at preferential price, signing in 2014 an investment contract in the amount of over EUR 31,500 thousand, a debt that he committed himself to pay off in just two years.
We asked in writing for the magistrate's opinion and asked him whether he would insist on getting a free of charge apartment from the municipality, since he already got another apartment at preferential price. The judge did not answer, but through his court clerk he said he is not going to comment.
Reconciliation Transaction - not enforced
The former magistrate Mihail Buruian was also expecting an apartment. Even if there is a court decision, whereby the municipality is obliged to offer him a free of charge apartment, he has not benefited from the real estate, because he left the system. Currently, Mihail Buruian is a lawyer. He told us that he had concluded a reconciliation transaction, but the money was not transferred to his account, and soon he left the judiciary.
The City Hall does not know the names of the judges, policemen and prosecutors who have benefited of free of charge apartments
Over many years, judges, as well as dozens of prosecutors and policemen have benefited of free of charge apartments. We have asked the General Directorate of Housing and Urban Planning (DGLCA) within the Chisinau City Hall to tell us how many judges, prosecutors and policemen obtained free of charge apartments. The department has replied that it does not keep such records. “We would like to inform you that DGLCA does not have a record of information for 2000-2016 regarding the provision of housing based on the decisions of the Mayor/Deputy Mayor of Chisinau, CMC decisions, according to the categories and classification specified in your interpellation, namely the list of people who have received housing, under the Law on Police, the Law on Judges and the Law on Prosecution”, is mentioned in the DGLCA's reply.
MDL 60 million for reconciliation transactions
Over several years, Chisinau City Hall has offered hundreds of thousands of MDL in exchange for apartments to more beneficiaries, money most often provided as a result of reconciliation transactions.
The magistrate Sergiu Osoianu, the president of the Straseni District Court also benefited of such a transaction. In 2015, through a reconciliation transaction, over MDL one million was transferred to his account, money offered in exchange for a two-room apartment, which would amount to about EUR 50,000 on the real estate market.
DGLCA Response: “The name of the beneficiaries of public money in exchange for reconciliation transactions would contain personal data”
In a response signed by Igor Munteanu, Deputy Head of the DGLCA, it is said that the institution will not give us the names of the people who received money under reconciliation transactions, because this information would contain personal data. “We hereby inform you that offering you the data on the beneficiaries of the reconciliation transactions concluded based on which the irrevocable judgments on the provision with housing have been settled through the transfer of the amounts of money from the municipal budget to the bailiff contains personal data ... The access to the personal information is made in accordance with the provisions of the legislation on the protection of personal data, according to which the protection of the private life of the person includes the right to the consent of the person whose interests are concerned in the process of disclosing personal information”, it is mentioned in the DGLCA response.
MDL 127 million in five years
In the same answer, the Directorate also stated that over the last five years, more than MDL 67 million were allocated from the municipal budget for allowances for the enforcement of judiciary documents granted to DGLCA during 2012-2017, and more than MDL 60 million were offered based on the reconciliation transactions in exchange for dwellings.
For this reason, the suspended mayor Dorin Chirtoaca is accused of damaging the municipal budget with millions of MDL. However, he is accused that without the CMC's decision he would have given money instead of apartments to those who had a final decision in this regard.
Earlier, however, the suspended mayor said that this file was fabricated and that he had only executed the court decisions. “There is only one city account. There is no council and city hall account. Given that one cannot give apartments because these do not exist. The City Hall does not have them, they have all been privatized; we proceeded to providing some monetary compensations”, said the mayor general of the capital.
The apartments were given into the beneficiaries’ possession, but not in use
Indeed, before 2010, the Law on Judges, the Law on Prosecution and the Law on Police provided for the local authorities to offer free of charge apartments to judges, prosecutors and policemen. However, these provisions were abolished and the apartments were provided into the possession of the beneficiaries but not in their use.
According to Lilia Ionita, the anti-corruption expert at the Center for Analysis and Prevention of Corruption, the law had shortcomings and the beneficiaries became owners of the apartments: “The problem is that our law provided for this guarantee for them until 2010: that was to be given free of charge. The law did not stipulate that these dwellings would have the status of a service dwelling and that they would only benefit of them during the term of office. That was the law. However, housing is divided into several categories, such as private or “business” property. It seems that judges, policemen and prosecutors have benefited of these dwellings, obtained them in private property and did what they wanted with these. That is how the law was”, the expert said.
Asked if once they have other apartments, the beneficiaries could return the real estate property to the municipality, the expert believes that no one would resort to this gesture. “Again, the old dilemma: what prevails: morality or legality? They can say that they have worked hard to get these homes, they have them in private ownership. That they left the system, so it was to be. However, I do not think anyone will return them”, says Lilia Ionita.
In Slovakia, a politician refused to get the apartment obtained free of charge under the pressure of the mass-media
If, in the Republic of Moldova, no judge would return the apartments obtained free of charge, once they have bought other real estate, the situation is different in Slovakia.
The investigative journalist Monika Todova from Slovakia reported in 2000 that the Slovak politician Ján Figeľ, the former European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, benefited of a free of charge apartment offered in a non-transparent way by the Bratislava municipality. “It has been a practice rooted for many years when actors, municipal officials, and politicians have benefited of free of charge apartments. After telling us that Ján Figeľ benefited of a luxurious apartment of more than 150 square meters, the politician gave back the housing, just in order to avoid tarnishing his reputation, and the four-room apartment was donated to a family with disabled people”, said the journalist.
We asked the Slovak politician whether it is right for the judges to benefit of free of charge apartments from the state. He replied that these benefits may affect the integrity of the magistrates, but also the act of justice. “In this case, it is not okay. The public authorities should act in the public interest, but not in the private interest. This method creates opportunities for speculative and corruption decisions. The effective justice and the protection of legality are essential to the application of fairness. It is important for the allocation of housing or other benefits to civil servants to be transparent and justified by the public interest. This will enhance the performance of the service for the public, but also the trust of the people”, the politician also said. Ján Figeľ said that he donated the apartment obtained free of charge as a result of the intense media pressure on the subject.
The investigation was carried out under the project “Mobilizing civil society to support judicial integrity in the Republic of Moldova ", conducted by the Center for Investigative Journalism and Freedom House, with the financial support of the US State Department.
Investigations in the same category:
In the 21st century, in the information age, there are invisible children in the Republic of Moldova, children who are not officially registered and do not have an identity. These children are not included in the statistics, they do not receive protection, health care and social benefits. Deprived of their rights, they are at huge risk of being exploited, trafficked or sold for organs. Nobody will look for them, because they don't officially exist. These undocumented children will remain on the edge of the "official" world for the rest of their lives. The Center for Investigative Journalism found that
Case study: How a prosecutor's wife tried to silence journalists
A journalistic investigation into how a well-known and controversial prosecutor resorted to a fictitious divorce in order to hide the properties which could not be justified from the salary of the prosecutor's office, turned for the Center for Investigative Journalism, the author of the investigation and a civic activist, in a fight for several years with state institutions and the prosecutor's wife, to defend our rights. The prosecutor's wife, a lawyer by profession, literally harassed us right from the first documents. She wrote complaints to several state institutions, to the Press Council, to the Police and the Prosecutor's Office,
"Poor" prosecutors with apartments, houses and tens of thousands of euros donated by parents and relatives
Every fourth prosecutor in the Republic of Moldova reported in the statement on property for 2020 donations from parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters or other close relatives. Reporters of the Anticoruptie.md portal screened the statements on property of all prosecutors in Moldova and found that about 170 state prosecutors out of the nearly 700 active prosecutors in the Prosecutor's Office structures indicated in the documents on property submitted to the National Integrity Authority that they received generous gifts last year - houses, apartments, land or tens of thousands of euros. Prosecutor with luxury real estate "inherited from parents" The prosecutor for special
Wealthy donors of magistrates
Houses, apartments and tens of thousands of euros received as gifts Every year, dozens of judges in the Republic of Moldova report that they have accepted gifts. The year 2020 is no exception. Every fifth judge in the Republic of Moldova reported in his statement on property for last year donations from parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters or other close relatives. No less than 84 magistrates out of over 400 who work today in the courts of Moldova indicated in the documents presented to the National Integrity Authority that they received gifts last year, either money, cars or real estate. She lives
THE ESCAPE OF THE OLIGARCH
An exclusive document obtained by the Center for Investigative Journalism in Moldova (CIJM) reveals that the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) readied his early leave from Moldova and the exit with his family to the West. Plahotniuc and his family are declared undesirable persons in the US. The former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova is in the list of ineligible persons for receiving visas published by the US State Department because of “significant corruption actions” in Moldova. Also, pleading the same cause, the US authorities declared the entire Plahotniuc family "ineligible" for visas to
INSPECTORS FROM THE ANTICORRUPTION PROSECUTION
Most of the 21 state inspectors appointed by the general prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo to verify the activity of the Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office for the past 4 years have integrity problems themselves. Some of the inspectors even have connections or interests with pending cases at the institution subjected to control. How the control was arranged Morari and Compan prosecutors, seen on the morning of December 9 at entry into PG The general prosecutor Alexandr Stoianoglo signed the order to carry out the controls at the Anti-corruption Prosecution and the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) on Monday morning, December 9,
VIDEO // Story of a bribe for prosecutors
A "remuneration" of 235 thousand euros would have determined the Anticorruption prosecutors to stop the criminal prosecution and to release a businessman suspected of money laundering in particularly large proportions. The intermediary who filmed with the hidden camera the moment when the money was transmitted to a prosecutor, reported the case to the Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office. The case was covered up and the complaint was removed from the record. From trafficker to creative man and patron Gheorghe Vîrtosu. Photo: virtosuart.com The businessman who was investigated by the CNA (National Anticorruption Center) for money laundering is Gheorghe Vîrtosu and lives in the
Property and interests of candidates for the seat of general prosecutor
20 candidates applied for the seat of Prosecutor General, initiated by the Ministry of Justice in late September. Among those who compete for the seat of general prosecutor are lawyers, jurists, prosecutors. Anticoruptie.md portal reveals the profile of candidates and their property. UPDATE: 4 of the 20 candidates competing for the seat of general prosecutor were not admitted to the contest. The Ministry of Justice announced that, following the evaluation of the files submitted, the Commission for the pre-selection of candidates to the office of general prosecutor admitted 16 candidates. Thus, the lawyer Ilie Rotaru, former prosecutor Ion Vicol, prosecutor of
Main state institutions, guarded by security companies with criminal past close to Vlad Plahotniuc and of “the thief in law” Makena
Two private enterprises of over 100 that ensure security and detective services gained advantageous tenders for the security of state institutions for many years. One of the companies belongs to an off-shore company, affiliated to the leader of PDM, Vladimir Plahotniuc, and the other is of a former policeman, who would be connected to the criminal authority Vladimir Moscalciuc, alias Makena. Though, these companies are targeted in dubious schemes, torture cases, use of force, illegal interceptions and other serious actions, they are free to guard public institutions, including those in justice field, despite the prohibitions of the law. The
INDICTMENT: April 7, 2009. How torturing policemen, judges and prosecutors were (NOT) held accountable
On April 7-8, 2009, when thousands of young people went out to protest against the April 5 parliamentary election fraud, and police forces were mobilized to repress the peaceful protest, hundreds of young people were detained forcefully, and taken to police commissariats, where they were humiliated and tortured. Dozens of prosecutors and judges went to police commissariats and judged the young people maltreated for mass disorder or hooliganism without taking any attitude to police atrocities. Ten years after the events of April 2009, we find that several files were closed or suspended and the truth was not revealed. Not a
INDICTMENT: April 7, 2009. Ten years of injustice
Ten years after the violent actions of April 7, 2009, following a peaceful protest triggered by the authorities, where hundreds of young people have been maltreated and tried in the police commissariats, no prosecutor, judge or policeman has ever been punished for abuses committed. Prosecutors filed 71 criminal cases, but only some of those who participated in the devastation of Parliament and Presidency buildings were punished. Just one policeman, who fled the country and wanted by Interpol, was sentenced to jail. All officials who somehow managed the actions of the police forces or were indifferent during the events of
Greek magistrates did what justice in Moldova didn’t: former international expert sentenced to 2 years in prison for pedophilia
Eight years after the publication of an investigation of the Center of Investigative Journalism about a network of pedophiles in Moldova and Ukraine, Greek justice ruled: Nick Georgiadis, one of the pedophiles abusing minors, was convicted. Tuesday, February 26, in Greece, two years in prison. In the Republic of Moldova, Georgiadis was "escaped" from criminal punishment. "The court in Athens, Greece did not acknowledge any mitigating circumstances and sentenced Georgiadis, aged 55, to a 28-month prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 euros. At the time of committing the crimes, he was advisor to the Minister of Economy within the
Women victims of domestic violence, facing alone the aggressors and the justice system
Victims of domestic violence, mostly women, often depend on a justice system that does not protect them and does not show leniency when out of despair they try to defend themselves or counter-attack, say lawyers and human rights activists. Angela Gojan. Photo: CIJM Angela Gojan was just over 20 years old when her marriage became a nightmare for her. Finally, 10 years later, she decided to break the vicious circle. The woman says that she was cruelly beaten for trifles: someone looked at her, or she did not take care of the child or did not exactly meet her husband's requirements.
„50 shadows“ of the billion dollar theft cases
Every time when prosecutors are asked about the investigation of the billion dollar theft they invoke three criminal cases, and namely, "Shor case", "Filat case" and "Platon case” that have had different "fates" since the start of the prosecution. Several violations of the proceedings, excesses on the side of prosecutors and judges, ill-treatment, and human rights violations in custody and detention were reported in two of these cases. Reference to Shor, the first person concerned in a criminal case on the theft from Banca de Economii, Banca Sociala and Unibank, the case has "frozen" on the table of the
„Stemma” of justice (II)
They were colleagues at the Law faculty, and now they are acting as judges, being opponents from the post of judges, lawyers or prosecutors. Though they say that the relationships of colleagues from the period of study do not influence on their professional activity in any way, several concrete cases prove that some judges and prosecutors have been promoted just in the period when their faculty colleagues served important posts in the justice system. You can see below the university colleagues of the chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice Mihai Poalelungi, of the General Prosecutor Eduard Harunjen and of
„Stemma” of justice
They have been colleagues at the Faculty of Law and now they are acting as judges, lawyers or prosecutors. Some of these are god-parents, god-sons while others - spouses, sons, daughters, brothers or sisters. All of them claim that personal relationships do not prevent them from being objective, in a country where most citizens perceive justice as the most corrupt field. In 2013, Ziarul de Garda (Zdg) revealed how the lawyer Iurie Guriev, god father of judge Oxana Banari (Mironov) who was serving at that time at the Donduseni District Court, did not request the magistrate's appeal in a case
AUDIO, DOC // “Ghost” banker in Vlad Filat’s case
A well-known Russian banker was attracted unknowingly in the controversial case of former PM Vlad Filat. Former executive chairman of the Russian Petrocomerţ bank is accused of having met in February 2013, former general secretary of the Government Victor Bodiu and they planned to take over a part of bad assets from Banca de Economii (BEM). According to the report Kroll, taking bad loans worth about one billion lei by Roseau Alliance LLP was the first step in taking over the BEM scheme. Reporters of the Center for Investigative Journalism found the banker but he does not know anything
Apartments at low price for magistrate Oleg Melniciuc’s mother and relatives in the residential block for judges
The head of the court Oleg Melniciuc, his mother and some of his relatives will get apartments and commercial property in the residential block on the street Hristo Botev 6 in Chisinau, which is currently being built for the magistrates of Rascani District Court in the capital and for their children. The magistrate himself who initially said that, though he owned some dwellings and he would like some flats for his children, he did not buy any flat in this block, but a commercial space. The president of the Superior Council of Magistracy Victor Micu received a flat in the
False witnesses in Vlad Filat’s case
Three women from the Russian Federation, who seem not to know about the situation in Moldova, appear as key-witnesses in the resounding corruption case involving Vlad Filat. According to statements made by Ilan Sor in court, they would have brokered alleged bribery worth 320 million lei to former Prime Minister. These statements were accepted by the court and included in the sentence without inviting the youths for evidence. Center for Investigative Journalism found the names of these girls and contacted two of them. The girls claim that they have never beento Moldova and do not know Ilan Sor and
18 bln USD laundered through the judiciary in Moldova since 2010 (II)
About 18 billion dollars, 17 judges, three "ghost" cases whose signatories are missing, a case destroyed and a judge unwillingly involved in the scheme of legalizing "black" money in the Russian Federation. Continuation from November 20 In the period 2010-2014, the Republic of Moldova has turned into a real "laundering" of large amounts of money from Russian Federation. The scheme included at least 17 Moldovan prosecutors who have legalized profits that would have been obtained illegally, wrote the Russian media. On the other hand, officials of the National Anti-Corruption Center say they cannot speak about “money laundering" in this case, because
18 bln USD laundered through the judiciary in Moldova since 2010 (I)
Since 2010, the Republic of Moldova became a real system of money laundering in the region through the courts. This "fame" went around the world and half of the 20 judges who dictated shameful verdicts continue to judge and "do justice" to this day. Many judges who have "legalized" black money from Russia were later on involved in scandals. However, the system does not want to "cleanse" itself and some of the judges who participated in money laundering scheme were even appointed court presidents. Copycat ordinances Schemes used by criminals for money laundering were always the same - some offshore companies in
The assets declared by judges: houses and cars at negligible costs
Most judges undervalue their movable and immovable property which they officially declare to own. The reporters of the Center for Investigative Journalismarrived to this conclusion after having examined more than 400 declarations of income and assets, submitted by magistrates for 2014. The legislation requires that in declaration of assets is indicated the cadastral estimate of the property, which in almost all cases is far below market value. For cars, the price is quoted from the contract of sale, which is also, in many cases, lower than the real one. Experts say it is a vicious practice and blame it on
The judges “with nine lives”
In the documents remitted to the SCM, Vladimir Voronin, Marian Lupu, Mihai Ghimpu and Nicolae Timofti have cautioned that those rejected do not have a place in the judiciary because they discredit Justice, are not objective, have unjustified wealth, have integrity issues, relations with businessmen conducting shady businesses. Most often, the findings were based on the reports from the Information and Security Service (ISS). Despite the arguments brought by the rulers of the country, SCM kept on position or even promoted around 55 judges. In the meantime, some of them left the system honorably taking their sins with them,
The stories from www.anticoruptie.md may be used in the limit of up to 1,000 characters. Web pages must indicate the source and link directly to the article. Print media, Radio and TV stations must indicate the source. Publishing full version of stories is allowed based on a prior agreement with the Center for Investigative Journalism. Articles published on www.anticoruptie.md are protected by the Law on copyright and related rights of Republic of Moldova.