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Prime Minister Tarlev and former President Lucinschi on the fraud case against Valeriu Pasat

Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said the detention of former defence minister Valeriu Pasat was not directed against Moscow or the Russian electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems where the latter served as an adviser.

Tarlev noted that the criminal prosecution of Moldovan citizen could not possibly be aimed against Russia. At the heart of the fraud case against Valeriu Pasat is a 1997 MIG-29 deal, by which Moldova sold 21 warplanes to the United States for $40 million, in stead of accepting the offer of a South Korean firm for $93,5 million.

Former Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi said Washington pressured Moldova on the deal, the US State Department fearing that, after being sold to the Korean firm, the planes would end up in Iran. Lucinschi concluded: "The decision to sell the planes to the United States was the only correct one".