Moldova on Thursday placed the country’s pro-Russian former president Igor Dodon under house arrest for 30 days after he was detained on suspicion of treason and corruption, a court in the capital Chisinau said.
Prosecutors in the Western-backed country announced Dodon’s arrest on Tuesday, as the conflict in neighboring Ukraine has heightened tensions between Moscow and Chisinau.
On Thursday, the prosecutors, who requested pre-trial detention for Dodon, said they intend to appeal the court’s decision.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Dodon “was planning to flee the country, we found a ticket for 9:00 on May 26,” prosecutor Petr Yarmalyuk said, adding that “large sums of foreign currency” were found during a search.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Dodon dismissed the case as “political” and blamed incumbent President Maia Sandu for his arrest.
“I consider this a political case. It was initiated on the order of President Maia Sandu, who demanded that I be put in jail immediately after her election,” Dodon said.
Dodon led Moldova between 2016 and 2020 and was openly backed by Moscow.
He is being investigated over four separate offences: state treason, receiving political funds from a criminal organization, illegal enrichment and “passive corruption.”
Moldova is largely Romanian-speaking but has a significant Russian-speaking minority and a Moscow-backed separatist region, Transnistria.
After becoming mired in scandals linked to corruption in the impoverished country, Dodon lost the presidency to Sandu in 2020. Her pro-European party went on to win a resounding victory in parliamentary elections in 2021.
Chisinau has firmly backed Kyiv after President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.
Pro-Russian ex-president of Moldova placed under house arrest