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Moldovan, Ukrainian Authorities Say Murder Plot Targeted Moldovan Politician

Seventeen people, including two connected to the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, were detained for allegedly planning to kill Vladimir Plahotniuc.

10 April 2017

An assassination attempt targeting one of the most powerful and wealthy Moldovan politicians came to light in Moldova and Ukraine, the AP writes.

 

During a press conference held this Saturday in Chisinau, Moldovan authorities announced that 17 people were detained in Moldova and Ukraine for allegedly planning to kill Vladimir Plahotniuc (pictured), Digi24.ro writes. Investigators said the attack has been ordered by two Moldovan citizens, who had so far paid the hired assassins $100,000 out of an agreed-upon total of $200,000. One of them has been detained, while the other is thought to be in Moscow.

 

Out of the 17 taken into custody, eight have been detained in Moldova and face prison terms of up to 20 years. Among the nine people detained in Ukraine, two have “taken part in separatist  actions in eastern Ukraine,” Moldovan prosecutor Vitalie Busuioc said at the press conference, according to Digi24.ro. The group includes people who were supposed to carry out the assassination, intermediaries, contact persons, and organizers. “Each of them had a well-determined role and knew what he had to do,” Busuioc said, adding that other people were also involved.

 

The police also seized “important” amounts of money, arms, grenade throwers, and disposable cell phones.

 

The assassination attempt had been carefully planned for months, investigators said. Last December, Ukrainian border authorities warned Chisinau about its imminence, after two of the plot’s organizers crossed the Moldovan-Ukrainian border.

 

The Prosecutor's Office for Fighting Organized Crime and Special Causes also made public several videos of its surveillance activities targeting the suspects, Agora.md writes. One video shows a group of men in a courtyard talking about an attack on Plahotniuc’s Global Business Center (GBC), an office building he owns, that would have targeted the politician. The three men are shown sketching what appears to be the map of GBC in the sand, using a photograph, according to Agora.md.

 

The Ukrainian police also made public images from the capture of one of the suspects.

 

 

Head of Ukrainian national police Sergey Knyazev said that the arrests took place simultaneously in Kyiv and Chisinau. “The organizers and those in charge of preparing the crime were detained in the Ukrainian capital. In the Moldovan capital, the local police detained the people tasked with carrying it out, who also had money and arms,” Knyazev said according to Digi24.ro. 

 


  • Plahotniuc’s Democratic Party issued a press release, cited by ProTv.md, condemning the assassination attempt, and urged the authorities to “do their duty” and track down all those involved. The party “will abstain from commenting on speculations about the motivation of those who organized the attack."

     

  • Plahotniuc, who has been called Moldova’s only real oligarch, entered politics in 2010, when he won a seat in parliament. Since then, he has become one of the country’s most controversial figures, and probably one of the most influential, despite efforts to avoid the spotlight, Dmitri Romanovski wrote for TOL in 2013.


Compiled by Ioana Caloianu

 

Homepage image via Національна поліція України/Youtube.

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