Pasat is set free
Moscow and London exchanged extradition refusals
An appeals court freed Moldova's former defense minister, aide of RAO UES CEO Anatoly Chubais, Valeriu Pasat, who had been recently sentenced to ten years imprisonment. He was pronounced not guilty to charge of selling the MiG planes for lack of arguments. After that his stretch decreased for five years. On the second count he was freed in amnesty, as, according to the Moldova’s law, Pasat, having been sentenced to less than seven years imprisonment must be indemnify.
Last year Valeriu Pasat was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for exceeding his commission. Besides that he was charged with abuse of power (article 327(2) of the Penal Code).
The criminal prosecution of Valeriu Pasat was begun in spring 2005 and it was considered to be a political short work. It is well known that, having become a Chubais’ aide, Pasat did not stop dealing in politics in Moldova. During the parliamentary elections on March 2005 he helped the main rival of the now ruling communist party, an opposition bloc Democratic Moldova that was supported by the Moscow. But the communists won the elections and at the same time Pasat was arrested and accused of participation in illegal selling of fighters MiG29 to the USA at understated costs. It was in 1997 when he took up a post of the minister of defense of Moldova. Then he was also accused of illegal sales deal on Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems to the company JOI Slovakia. Besides that, the case of Pasat coincided with the crisis in relations between Russia and Moldova that resulted in ban on delivery of Moldavian wine in Russia.
During his imprisonment Pasat went several times on hunger-strike and ended it only at doctors’ urgent requests since the situation became critical and poses a health hazard.
Hearing of the Pasat’s case were in private, all witnesses gave testimonies in defense of the accused. They said that there were no violations during the selling deals, that Pasat was only an executor but all decisions were taken by the government of the country. That was confirmed by the former president of Moldova Peter Luchinsky, ex-premier minister Ion Chubbuk, ex-speaker of the parliament Dmitry Motspan and other politicians of high rank.
Nevertheless on January 2006 the Chisinau Central District Court found Valeriu Pasat guilty and sentenced him to ten years imprisonment. The verdict was received with condemnation not only in Moldova but abroad. The USA embassy in Moldova expressed censure in connection with the process and the sentence. But it was not the end. February 14, 2006 the General Prosecutor’s Office of Moldova brought new official charges against Pasat, this time on much graver Articles of the Criminal Code - an attempted seizure of the state power and preparation of a premeditated murder to promote the committing of another crime.
In the middle of September one more charge against him was brought, this time he was accused of fire-arms smuggling; and that became the third case. His lawyer George Amihalachioae said, the charges were “preposterous”, since during the arrest in Chisinau his client had reported himself that he had two pistols presented him by his colleagues from Roumania and Kazakhstan.