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News 21 Dec 17

Moldova Gives Secret Service Job to Communist Stalwart

Moldova's parliament on Thursday named Vitalie Pirlog as new head of the state security and intelligence service in what some experts see as a payoff for his services to the ruling party's leader.

Madalin Necsutu
BIRN
Chisinau
Moldovan parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Serhiodudnic

With the support of 55 out of 101 MPs, Moldova's parliament on Thursday named Vitalie Pirlog, a man with strong Communist Party links, as the new head of the country's security and intelligence service, the SIS.

The chair of parliament and vice-president of the pro-EU ruling Democrat Party, Andrian Candu, urged Pirlog to “guard the security of Moldova in these hard times” after he swore to do everything in his power to defend the country.

Pirlog has been very close to the Communist Party, prompting questions about why the pro-EU government appointed him to this sensitive post.

During the so-called "Twitter Revolution" in April 2009, he was the Communist Justice Minister. During those violent events that overthrew the Communist government, after which pro-European political forces took over, many young people were beaten by the police and secret services on the streets or in police station basements. Some even died on account of their treatment.

Pirlog was also on the Communist Party list in the last parliamentary elections in 2014. 

He also represented Oleg Voronin, the son of the Communist Party leader Vladimir Voronin, in a case before the European Court of Human Rights in 2010, when Voronin was accused of spending huge sums abroad on luxury items – money that could not not be justified by his income statements.

From April 2017 until now Pirlog chaired the Interpol file control commission in Moldova.

Watchdog expert Valeriu Pasa told a political show on TV8 station that Pirlog was being rewarded with the head job at the SIS for his efforts with Interpol regarding the ruling party's leader, Vlad Plahotniuc.

According to the Russian-language news portal Newsmaker.md Prime Minister Filip Pavel met European ambassadors to Moldova in the spring and told them that Russian secret services were trying to get Plahotniuc put on Interpol's monitoring list.

In 2013, Plahotniuc admitted that Interpol had been monitoring him in 2007 when he took a trip to northern Italy where Russian businessmen bought many real estate properties, allegations he had earlier denied.

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