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British Queen celebrates

Summarising the two-day discussions of the delegation of Shor Party from Moldova to the European Parliament, moderator of the concluding press conference, which took place in Strasbourg, Alessandro Musolino (“Forza Italia”) said, “You can tell Mr Shor he is not alone. He is not alone! Moreover, observance of rights and freedoms is one of the main provisions of the Association Agreement. We, Europeans, saw in you, representatives of Moldova, sincere patriotism, and this is very important.”

Who is this Mr Ilan Shor who deserved such emotional European support? Famous in his country entrepreneur and philanthropist. Popular, supported by over 60% of voters, mayor of a large by Moldovan standards city of Orhei. Political leader who in 2016 headed the party named after him. And besides – a victim of lawlessness of Moldova’s law enforcement system. And what is more – a prisoner, forced to stay under the house arrest for a year already.

Mr Shor’s vicissitudes began when the government, in the person of ex-premier Vladimir Filat, saddled him with the bled-dry state-owned bank. Having made use of the dependent position of any businessman to a representative of supreme power in Moldova, Filat compelled Shor to issue unsecured loans to the companies he controlled as well as to businessmen close to him, e.g. notorious Veaceslav Platon. That was the finish of the bank, which was soon taken from private investors led by Shor and then – liquidated.

Shor, for whom the corrupt representatives of Moldovan authorities prepared the role of a “guilty”, destined to be held accountable for many years of theft from the state-owned bank, went to law enforcers and turned himself in. Filat and Platon were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. And Ilan Shor, as the main witness who must be under state protection, instead of running the city, heading the political party, bringing up his small children... was placed under house arrest. Numerous attempts of lawyers to challenge this “strange” judicial award was to no avail. Lawyers’ arguments are convincing: Shor cooperates with the investigation, complies with all court orders, does not undertake attempts to interfere with witnesses, does not leave the country. Moreover, pursuant to Moldova’s law, voluntary surrender frees from criminal liability. Lawyers’ arguments are convincing for everyone, except for the Moldovan justice, which again and again denies Ilan Shor’s right to enjoy the deserved freedom.


All this time, there were mass protests of Orhei residents and followers of Shor Party at the court house. But they did not soften the hard hearts of Moldovan judges. Secret of their unkindness can be found in numerous publications in Moldovan and international media, indicative of political subordination of the Moldova’s judicial system and political motivation of judgments delivered.

The appeal of Ilan Shor’s fellows in party to the European Parliament was a gesture of despair. All possibilities to find truth and justice inside Moldova were used up. There was only one hope: to arouse sympathy and interest among representatives of European structures. Demonstration of idealism by citizens of a small poor country, which has chosen European integration as its strategic course and has concluded an Association Agreement with the EU.

But it worked! Brussels bureaucracy is commonly criticised, but this time it disproved any negative opinion about it. At first, Lorenzo Fontana, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), addressed a strongly worded letter to the Parliament, the Government and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Moldova. “Europeans are intensely sensitive to violation of rights and restriction of personal freedom, injustice in court proceedings or facts of disproportional severe application of laws,” reads the letter of the influential European parliamentarian, “whether the application of such tough measure as restriction of freedom to the person who actively cooperates with the investigation is fair and effective. Does it comply with European practice?”

Shortly afterwards, a delegation from Moldova – Vice Chair of Shor Party Marina Tauber and Shor’s lawyers Denis Ulanov and Julian Balan – went to Strasbourg at the invitation of members of European Parliament. MEPs, with whom met representatives of the disgraced Moldovan politician, did not hide their surprise at the information received from them.

Italian MEP Lorenzo Fontana, representing “Lega Nord” group in the European Parliament, was even more categorical than in his letter to the Moldovan authorities, “As you know, I closely monitor the situation with Ilan Shor, and we will persistently demand that the main witness was actually protected from corrupt officials and justice was protected from political pressure of officials.”

Vice Chair of the political group of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament Elisabetta Gardini declared her intent to get the “Shor’s case” under control, jointly with her colleagues from party “Forza Italia” and the group of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament.

MEP Alberto Cirio, member of the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Association, declared he would include this issue in the list of mandatory topics for discussion during his visit to Moldova. “I will bring up the issue of assistance in fair and transparent resolution of this issue at the highest level. I will call on Moldova’s leaders to meet the developed situation,” the influential European politician declared.

All European deputies, with whom were held discussions, stated their readiness to visit Chisinau in order to meet with the politician placed under house arrest.