President asks Moldova’s pro-European gov’t to stay together

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova’s president has called on the country’s three-party coalition government to stay together after the former prime minister was arrested in connection with a bank fraud of up to $1.5 billion.

President Nicolae Timofti on Tuesday urged them to reach a consensus following calls for Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet to resign and be replaced by a government of technocrats. Timofti met the three leaders late Monday.

Timofti also called for reforms of state institutions to continue. Moldova was hit by a wave of protests that began on Sept. 6 when thousands demanded a probe into the money that went missing from three banks ahead of elections last November.

Vlad Filat, prime minister from 2009 to 2013, was arrested Sunday, charged in connection with the missing money.

Also Tuesday, prosecutors took away documents from the country’s Russian-owned gas company, the state telecom company and a major private metal export company after Filat alleged, in a speech to lawmakers last week, that managers had defrauded the companies.

The prosecutor’s office said “the documents and actions of the companies’ managers will be analyzed” to determine whether their management had harmed consumers or the public interest.

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