Former pro-Russian President Igor Dodon was arrested in the Republic of Moldova on Tuesday on suspicion of corruption. The detention was initially ordered for 72 hours, said a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office. Dodon is currently in the anti-corruption center.
According to the spokeswoman, there were searches at twelve different locations, including Dodon’s house in the capital Chisinau. The allegations are high treason, receiving funds from a criminal organization, illegal enrichment and “passive corruption”.
Investigators suspect Dodon of accepting money from a political ally and powerful oligarch, Vladimir Plahotniuc, in 2019. Plahotniuc fled Moldova in 2020 amid allegations of bribery, but his application for entry was rejected by the United States.
Dodon was at the helm of the southeastern European country from 2016 to 2020. He was openly supported by Moscow. Moldova has a Romanian-speaking majority and a Russian-speaking minority. Power in the country repeatedly shifted between forces leaning towards the West or leaning towards Moscow.
After Dodon’s involvement in corruption scandals became known, he lost the presidency to Maia Sandu. Her pro-European party won the 2021 general election.
After the start of the Russian invasion of the neighboring country, the government in Chisinau clearly sided with Ukraine. Moldova took in refugees, applied for EU membership and received a commitment to sustained military aid from Europe.