Moldova: agriculture minister detained in land scam case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2017 11:40 AM

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldovan prosecutors have detained the country's agricultural minister on suspicion that he took part in a scheme to illegally expropriate state-owned vineyards and buildings.

Prosecutors from the National Anti-Corruption Agency detained Agriculture Minister Eduard Grama Wednesday for a 72-hour period and searched the agriculture ministry and Grama's home.

Grama is one of more than a dozen people suspected of illegally leasing 30 hectares (74 acres) of land and buildings owned by the National College of Viticulture and Winemaking in a village north of Chisinau.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Iurie Usurelu says he didn't suspect Grama of wrongdoing.

In November, the anti-corruption agency arrested 12 people in the case, including lawyers, state officials and businessmen.

Prosecutors say suspects illegally changed ownership documents to make the land more expensive and bribed state officials.