Moldova Faces New Turmoil After ex-Leader Leaves

The leader of the Democratic Party, Vlad Plahotniuc - who left Moldova for an undisclosed destination soon after the Democratic Party-led government under Pavel Filip resigned last Friday - has said he will return as soon as he and his family feel secure.

"I will return to the country as soon as possible, as soon as my family is safe and I am safe, and I will work for Moldova to become a stable country, and for the people to live in peace and quiet," he said on Facebook on Monday.

Referring to the new coalition government under Maia Sandu, which unites pro-EU and pro-Russian forces, he said he would not let Moldova be ruled from outside and become just an annex to another state, presumably referring mainly to Russia's influence on Moldova, and on the Socialist Party in particular.

Since the fall of the Democratic Party regime, Ilan Shor - the politician and tycoon convicted in a first-instance verdict of playing a key role in the so-called "grand theft" of a billion US dollars from the banking system - has also left the country. Media reported that Ilan Shor left on a private plane for Turkey.

The sudden departures of both men were widely seen by the media as a preemptive action, taken to avoid having to deal with possible judicial issues launched by the new coalition government in Chisinau, which unites the pro-EU ACUM bloc and the pro-Russian Socialists under ACUM Prime Minister Sandu.

The National Anti-corruption Centre, CNA, has already moved to seize the personal assets of suspects in the so-called grand theft case, including Shor.

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, urged the media not to fuel speculation about why Plahotniuc had left the country, insisting it was a temporary trip and warning against "false information".


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