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Former Defence Minister Pasat's case referred to an appeals court in Chisinau

Moldova's Supreme Court ruled on May 3 that an appeals court should again hear the case against former defense minister Valeriu Pasat who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in January 2006 after being found guilty chiefly of selling 21 fighter planes to the United States at a price below their market value. An appeals court overturned that charge in October, but found him guilty of negligence for selling grenade launchers to Slovakia at a discount of $1.8 million. Both the prosecution and defense objected to that ruling, and turned to the Supreme Court. Pasat, who served as defense minister from 1997 to 1999 and as head of the intelligence services from 1999 to 2002, was also indicted in February 2006 for plotting both a coup and the murder of a senior politician.