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Former Moldovan Defence Minister cleared of charges of having sold planes below market cost

The appeals court in Chisinau overturned a guilty verdict against former Defense Minister Valeriu Pasat on October 16, clearing him of charges that he sold 21 fighter planes below market cost to the United States. The court, however, upheld Pasat's conviction for selling grenade launchers to a Slovak company at a discounted price in 1998, causing Moldova to lose $1.8 million. The ruling reduces Pasat's prison sentence from 10 years to five. Pasat, who was defense minister from 1997 to 1999 and head of the intelligence services from 1999 to 2002, claims the cases against him are politically motivated.

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