Tofilat Appeals the Decision on National Hotel: He Demands Criminal Proceedings

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The decision of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office to cancel the criminal case against the National Hotel will be appealed. It was announced by the complainant Sergiu Tofilat, vice-chairman of the Party of Change and member of the supervisory board of Moldovagaz. The first court session on the appeal against the decision is to be held today, 28 August. The judges of the Ciocana district will examine the refusal of the APO to initiate a criminal case on the assets related to the National Hotel. Tofilat’s position is based on 3 arguments: - facts of foreign assets’ embezzlement; - deliberate destruction or damage to property; - the prosecutors’ claims that there was no damage. “Officials from the Chisinau Mayor’s Office tried to seize a 1.2-hectare plot of land next to a hotel and a restaurant. Part of the land belongs to the municipality, the other to the Public Property Agency (PPA). More precisely, in September 2020, the Supreme Court of Justice cancelled the decision of the Chisinau Municipal Council, according to which the land was illegally leased to the company of [Plahotniuc’s proxy and former MP Vladimir] Andronachi. The city authorities ignored the court decision and continued to issue documents that help Andronachi’s group to seize the land,” Tofilat said. In addition, he believes that the very fact of authorizing the hotel’s demolition is illegal. “The City Hall illegally issued a demolition permit for the hotel. The privatization agreement stipulates that the hotel should be returned to PPA if Alpha Engineering fails to fulfil its investment obligations. The demolition of the hotel is illegal, PPA has caused damage of more than $2 million,” Tofilat claimed. Also, the vice-chairman of the Party of Change emphasized that the prosecutors’ claims about the absence of damage are false. “That’s a lie. The aggrieved parties are PPA (the value of the illegally seized land and the value of the hotel in case of demolition) and the Chisinau Municipality (the value of the land free from development). The prosecutor [Vasile] Plevan did not address these parties in order to involve them in the process and give them the status of victims,” he added. Last May, Chisinau Mayor Ion Ceban proposed to the government to include the National Hotel in the register of state-protected monuments. The proposal came after rumors about the imminent demolition of the building. In December, two bodies were found in the building shortly after a fire. In August 2022, National was seized as part of the Metalferos case involving former MP Vladimir Andronachi. A report by anticorruption authorities stated that Andronachi is the actual beneficiary of the company that owns National, with a share capital value of €5.5 million as of 2018. Tofilat had already approached the prosecutor’s office in 2021 with demands to start investigation into the National situation and claimed that the hotel was bought with money from the stolen billion. According to him, a group of individuals wants to seize 1.2 hectares of state property and demolish the hotel in order to build a 128,000 square meter complex. Sergiu Tofilat was a member of the group investigating illegal actions against the hotel.