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The Times: Ex-Moldovan police chief accused of working with Russia to overthrow government
A group of Moldovan and British lawyers have accused a former Moldovan police chief, living in the U.K., of allegedly leading a plot to overthrow the current Moldovan government, the Times reported on May 11.
According to the Times, the lawyers provided a report with the allegations to the U.K.'s Foreign Office. The Moldovan government backed the claims and requested the extradition of ex-Police Chief Gheorghe Cavcaliuc.
A Moldovan government spokesperson claimed that Cavcaliuc has allegedly been working in coordination with Moscow to "recruit former police officers to a paramilitary group ‘protecting’ fake demonstrations against the (Sandu) government."
Cavcaliuc is also accused of having accumulated a fortune that does not correspond to his official income, the Times wrote.
Cavcaliuc has denied the allegations, saying that they are "totally false in all respects."
The former police chief left Moldova in 2020 when pro-western President Maia Sandu came into power. He claimed that he was a "victim of political persecution" for opposing Sandu's government but insisted that he was not aligned in any way with the Kremlin.
Moldova has faced escalating security concerns due to the full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, which poses a significant risk of spillover into the country.
Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Rechan confirmed in an interview with Moldova's TV8 on Feb. 21 that authorities were aware of "several" Russian destabilization scenarios, including Russia's plan to take control of the Chisinau airport.
On May 8, Leonid Manakov, who represents Transnistria in Moscow, requested more Russian "peacekeepers" due to what he called the "deteriorating security situation" in an interview with Russian state media.
Transnistria is a breakaway region internationally recognized as part of Moldova, kept afloat with the help of the illegal presence of Russian troops.