Moldovan Constitutional Court Bans Fugitive Oligarch’s Party from Polls

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The Constitutional Court’s judges ruled that members of the Shor Party, led by the fugitive oligarch Ilan Shor, who has been convicted of grand theft, cannot participate in any elections in the next five years.

The Shor Party’s members face a five-year electoral ban after Moldova’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected the party’s appeal against a previous decision to declare it unconstitutional and ruled that the decision should stand.

The Constitutional Court initially declared the Shor Party unconstitutional on June 19, but the party appealed.

Tuesday’s decision is final and cannot be appealed, and entered into force on the date of adoption.

The Shor Party is led by oligarch Ilan Shor, who is currently a fugitive from Moldovan justice in Israel after he was given a sentence of 15 years in prison under a final verdict in April.

He was convicted of involvement in the so-called ‘Grand Theft’ case. Between 2012 and 2014, $1 billion vanished from three Moldovan banks, a heist masterminded by Shor.

Moldova’s pro-European government accuses his party of violating the rule of law and conducting activities against the country’s sovereignty.

Parliament also voted in June to adopt a law saying that members of the leadership of the Shor Party do not have the right to run in this year’s local elections, nor the following year’s parliamentary or presidential elections.

MPs from the ruling Action and Solidarity Party argued at the time that they could not allow people who have been involved in various illegal activities including illegal party financing, non-declaration of income and corrupting voters to be take part in political life.

Shor himself was also sanctioned by the US last October, with the State Department accusing him of collaborating with corrupt oligarchs and Moscow-based entities “to create political unrest in Moldova and… to undermine Moldova’s bid for EU candidate status”.

Following the Constitutional Court’s initial decision on June 19, the Shor Party formation splintered into several satellite parties that will participate in Moldova’s local elections in November this year.

Meanwhile prosecutors are investigating a case related to electoral bribes allegedly offered by members or supporters of the Shor Party for the May gubernatorial election in the pro-Russian autonomous region of Gagauzia in the south of the country.

Evghenia Gutul, a close associate of Shor, won the elections in Gagauzia. During the electoral campaign, Shor took part online at all the promotional events organised to support Gutul, although officially, she entered the race as an independent candidate.

Source : Balkaninsight