Judge Ion Druta, recently appointed head of the Supreme Court of Justice, lives in grand style in a million-worth dwelling. Even though over the years, he was the target of several media scandals related to his activity, Druta managed to escape every time, being supported either by his guild colleagues or by neighbors.

Immediately after graduating from the law school, Ion Druta started his career at the Botanica District Court of Chisisnau, first as a trainee, then as a court clerk. In 1994, after two years, he became a judge.

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Ion Druta. Source: actualitati.md

Ion Druta advanced in his career after almost 10 years of judicial activity, when, in 2006, the former communist president, Vladimir Voronin, appointed him as chairman of the Botanica District Court. After four years, the Liberal Mihai Ghimpu, acting as interim president, extended Druta's term of chairman of the Botanica District Court for another four years.

A controversial career

The leading position at the Botanica District Court helped Druta move up the career ladder and in 2008, he was elected Vice President of the Union of Judges, in 2013, he became president of the organization, which is entitled to appoint members of the Superior Council of Magistracy. Since 2009, he has been a member of the Judges' Qualification Board attached to the SCM.

In 2013, Ion Druta made a great leap in his career, being appointed judge to the Supreme Court until he reaches the age limit. His colleagues from the Judges’ Qualification Board helped him achieve this performance.

Ion Druta is one of the judges, who has most of complaints against him, submitted to the Superior Council of Magistracy with regard to disciplinary deviations. Some cases were found by the Judicial Inspection, others were confirmed by the Commission for Ethics and Discipline, but every time, the judge managed to escape. The most notorious case refers to Druta’s decision, whereby the debt of an economic agent to a natural person, previously recognized through a court order, was referred to the state budget.

He was also part of the court panel that ordered the state to transfer more than 14 million lei to the account of the construction company Basconslux LLC for the demolition of the Republican Stadium. Although in both cases, disciplinary proceedings had been started, Druta was acquitted by the SCM.

While holding the position of chairman of the Botanica District Court, Ion Druta restricted simple citizens’ access to the court.

To be sure that the order was executed, he hired the Bercut paramilitary agency, even if the law did not allow at that time the state institutions be guarded by private firms.

Ion Druta twice faced the National Integrity Center (NIC), in 2014, at the request of the Anti-Corruption Alliance and in 2015. In the first case, the NIC found that Druta did not commit any violations while drawing up his  Income and Property Declaration. In the second case, violations were found, but the NIC decided that they were not committed intentionally and the case was closed.

Ion Druta established close relationships with his colleagues in the guild. He is the wedding godfather of Alexandru Ciugureanu, son of former magistrate Mihail Ciugureanu. He also has close relations with the Foreign Minister Tudor Ulianovschi, son of Xenophon Ulianovschi, deputy chairman of the Chisinau Court of Appeal.

The judge studied law together with Nicolae Chitoroaga, current head of the Prosecutor's Office for Combating Organized Crime, with the former magistrate Iurie Obada, dismissed for illegal application of arrest in the case of Braguta, and with the prosecutor Viorel Tureac, head of the Prosecutor's Office in Balti.

Million-worth Palace

Ion Druta lives in a two-storied cottage with an attic and basement.

The magistrate's household is guarded by the Allas Private Agency.

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The building is situated on a plot of 0.087 hectares, which according to the cadastral data, was purchased on January 30, 2004 by Ion and Lilia Druta.

In fact, the land was assigned to Ion Druta by the Chisinau Municipal Council on May 1, 2003, which is a day off at the national level.

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In 2004, the then president, Vladimir Voronin, instructed the Prosecutor's Office to verify the lawfulness of allocation of land for construction in the capital. Druta’s plot of land was also spotted by the prosecutors and on September 29, 2004, restrictions on the land award contract were imposed.

Most likely, the magistrate had been informed in advance and on September 10, 2004, Ion Druta concluded a sale and purchase contract with Mihail Turcan, a relative of his.

Ion Druta was saved by his colleagues from the Chisinau Court of Appeal, who rejected the prosecutors' request for annulment of the decision of May 1, 2013, on the grounds that the issue falls under the competence of the State Chancellery.

On October 27, 2011, the cottage was commissioned and on December 7, 2012, Mihai Turcan and Ion Druta signed a new sale and purchase contract, by which the magistrate becomes the owner of the land and the newly built building.

The cottage of Druta’s family is enclosed by a fence of at least 2 meters high and a barrier guard is installed at the gate.

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Anatolie Donciu, former president of the National Integrity Center, is among Druta’s neighbors.

The Drutas also have an apartment of 69.5 square meters, which was obtained in 1996, through an exchange contract.

Being asked by the parliamentarian Maria Ciobanu, where he found the money to buy a house worth about 4 million lei, while in 2012, he had an annual salary of 200 thousand lei, Druta gave an elusive answer. The magistrate said the NIC verified everything and there were no deviations.

Undeclared business of the Drutas

Turcan helped Druta not only buy real estate property but also with the business. In 1999, Victoria Ciumac, Druta's mother-in-law, and Natalia Turcan, Mihail Turcan’s wife, who was the official owner of the plot in Malina Mica while the magistrate's house was built, founded the enterprise Lic-Dana LLC, engaging in pharmaceutical and transport business. Lilia Druta, Ion Druta’s wife, was the administrator of the enterprise. In November 2017, Natalia Turcan gave up her part of the business to the magistrate’s daughter, Cristina Druta.

The legal address of the company is located on 16 Independentei St., office 2 and the owner of the building is Pavel Ciumac, Ion Druta’s father in law. This is the address where the subsidiary of the Hungarian pharmacies network Gedeon Richter, rents property. In his Income and Property Statement for 2017, Druta did not mention Lic-Dana LLC. The magistrate indicated in the document that his wife worked for IM RihPanGalFarma LLC, being paid during the past year with almost 175 thousand lei.

The Moldovan-Hungarian joint venture RihPanGalFarma was founded in 1996 by the pharmaceutical giant Gedeon Richter and the business woman from Chisinau, Asia Odobescu, who owns a network of pharmacies on the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

Druta's cars, which "do not belong to him"

Ion Druta owns two cars, a Honda CRV and Toyota Yaris. According to the Income and Property Statement, the cars, purchased in 2009 and 2010, were offered to the judge’s family for free use.

In his Income and Property Statement for 2017, Ion Druta declared incomes of over 426 thousand lei, derived from his salary and that of his wife. The judge’s family has savings in the accounts opened with Victoriabank in the amount of 36 thousand lei and over 7 thousand euros. Ion Druta also indicates a debt of 50,000 euros, free of interest, contracted in 2016, which he is due by 2022.

Investigation
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