Moldova seeks lawyers after Plahotniuc’s villa seized in France? Announcement of the Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice has announced a competition to select a law firm to represent Moldova’s interests before foreign courts and national and international arbitration institutions. The lawyers would defend the country’s interests in pending criminal cases against Moldovan citizens in French courts.

According to the Ministry of Justice in Chisinau, French prosecutors have initiated proceedings against Moldovan citizens and seized property located in the French Republic.

“Thus, by the French Code of Criminal Procedure, the Republic of Moldova was requested to be brought as a civil party in the case, which the French court accepted.

The status of the Republic of Moldova as a civil party was requested in connection with the presumption that the seized property was acquired with financial sources obtained from corruption and money laundering offenses of a large scale, committed on the territory of the Republic of Moldova by citizens of the Republic of Moldova and by which the state budget was damaged,” the Ministry of Justice said.

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Although the Ministry of Justice does not specify when the seizures were applied and who was targeted, among the high-profile cases it is known that a villa in Sciez belonging to former Democratic Party leader Vladimir Plahotniuc was frozen in 2022. In 2023, it was revealed that a villa belonging to Plahotniuc was seized in Switzerland. In 2024, prosecutors also found an apartment in Sciez belonging to the controversial businessman, where they believe one of his relatives was staying.

Earlier this year, Moldovan prosecutors, with several of their counterparts in Switzerland and France raided Plahotniuc’s homes in both countries. Luxury items and large sums of money were found in the homes, and law enforcement officials announced that the properties had been seized before these actions.

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