Ukrainian fugitive ex-judge Mykola Chaus, who was put on the international wanted list by Interpol on bribery charges, was kidnapped in Moldova.
That's according to a report by a local newspaper NewsMaker, citing a lawyer and the police.
Chaus's lawyer Iulian Balan said a group of unidentified armed men had abducted the ex-judge in the center of Chisinau on Saturday, April 3.
"An important announcement for the Moldova President's administration, the Prosecutor General, the Information and Security Service, and all law enforcement agencies: today, on April 3, in the center of Chisinau, my client, Ukrainian judge Mykola Chaus, whose application for political asylum is being considered by court, has been abducted," the lawyer said ... He added that the incident makes him "doubt the government's ability to protect."
According to the newspaper, the press secretary of the Chisinau police confirmed the fact of the abduction.
"The man, 54, was abducted by three persons. The incident unfolded outside a residential building in the capital sector Center. The police were alerted at 13:15. Now the investigating authorities are clarifying the circumstances of the incident. A criminal case has been opened," she said.
Judge Chaus case: Details
- On August 9, 2016, NABU detectives exposed Judge Chaus upon receiving a $150,000 bribe for handing down a verdict in favor of the defendants. He also became an internet meme in Ukraine after the raid revealed he had been storing bribe money in a glass jar buried in the garden.
- On September 6, 2016, the Verkhovna Rada approved the move to arrest the judge and put him to trial.
- However, taking advantage of judicial immunity, Chaus fled from Ukraine.
- The judge was put on wanted list and later detained by Moldova authorities at Ukraine's extradition request.
- On October 6, 2016, the Commission on Issues of Citizenship and Political Asylum under the President of Moldova rejected Chaus's request for political asylum.
- On November 28, 2017, Ukraine's High Council of Justice dismiss Chaus from the position of judge.
- On July 11, 2019, President Volodymyr Zelensky, during talks with the then-Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu, who has been sworn in as President on December 24, 2020, raised the issue of Chaus's extradition.
- On February 7, 2020, at that time, chief of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office Nazar Kholodnytsky said that ex-judge Chaus had been using every opportunity to avoid extradition to Ukraine.
- The suspect "chose the tactic of challenging everything that could be appealed: first he applied for political asylum, then it was the one 'connected with the persecution,' and when he was refused and the decision on extradition was almost ready, he challenged the president's decision," Kholodnytsky said.
- The Chaus case is ready to be forwarded to court, the top anti-graft prosecutor said.
- On October 12, 2020, the National Police said they never ceased efforts to locate and detain the fugitive judge.