March 13, 2018 / 3:24 PM / 8 months ago

Moldovan former MP jailed for spying for Russia

CHISINAU (Reuters) - A Moldovan court has sentenced former lawmaker Yuri Bolboceanu to 14 years in prison on charges of high treason and spying for Russia’s GRU military intelligence, the general prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

The ex-Soviet state has long been the focus of a struggle for influence between Russia and the West. Its relations with Moscow nosedived in 2017 due to a series of disagreements that included tit-for-tat expulsions of each other’s diplomats.

Bolboceanu, who served as a lawmaker in 2001-2005 and 2010-2014, was arrested last year on suspicion of working for GRU from October 2016 to March 2017.

“He collected and handed over information of national interest, which could have been used against the interests of Moldova,” the general prosecutor said in a statement.

It said its investigation had found that Bolboceanu’s cooperation with GRU had included “regular secret meetings, the use of special methods and equipment, the use of secret communication methods and the payment of monetary compensation for the execution of orders.”

Bolboceanu, who denies the charges, has the right to appeal the sentence, which also bans him from holding public office for four years after his release.

Reporting by Alexander Tanas; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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