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WikiLeaks cables claim Moldovan president offered $10m bribe to keep power

WikiLeaks cables claim Moldovan president offered $10m bribe to keep power

Communist leader Vladimir Voronin offered rival Marian Lupu cash to join him in power, according to US embassy cables

Moldova's president offered a $10m (£6.4m)bribe in a desperate bid to keep his defeated communist government in power, according to a secret US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

Vladimir Voronin made the offer to rival Marian Lupu on 7 September 2009 after parliamentary elections that July, in which Voronin's ruling communists narrowly lost to a coalition of pro-EU opposition parties.

During private talks at his dacha at Condrita, Voronin offered Lupu the cash, a secret US cable states. In return, Voronin wanted a power-sharing deal in which Lupu would become president and Voronin would get the job of Speaker.

"Though we have often heard stories of bribery and influence peddling within the GOM [government of Moldova], Lupu's claim that Voronin offered him $10m to cut a power-sharing deal is the most brazen tale to date," the embassy in Chisinau, Moldova's capital, told Washington.

"It is possible Voronin did not believe Lupu would take the bribe but had to be able to go back to his party saying that he had tried everything."

According to the US, Voronin initially offered $5m but doubled it when Lupu seemed uninterested. For his part, Lupu offered Voronin immunity from prosecution if he could deliver the crucial communist votes needed for an opposition candidate to become president.

Voronin resigned on 11 September, four days after his bribe was rejected.

Two years after the alleged bribe, Moldova remains in political deadlock. Voters failed to give a clear signal during the latest election on Sunday as to how they view the country's future.

The pro-western Alliance for European Integration coalition fell just short of the 61 seats needed to elect a new president, with the communists under Vorinin the largest party.

The Guardian


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