Moldova PM Gaburici quits over school diploma inquiry

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
PM Chiril Gaburici announced his resignation on live TV

Moldova's Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici has resigned after prosecutors questioned the authenticity of his school-leaving certificate.

Mr Gaburici had earlier demanded that the prosecutor-general resign, along with top bank officials, after $1bn (£645m) disappeared from three banks.

Many Moldovans live in dire poverty.

Mr Gaburici only became PM in February. "The issue of my school diploma... will be removed from the agenda," he said, announcing his resignation on TV.

Moldova, an ex-Soviet state, signed a far-reaching association agreement with the EU in 2014, angering Russia.

Moldova, bordering on Ukraine, is one of Europe's poorest countries and has been plagued by political instability.

The capital Chisinau saw angry demonstrations in May when news of the banking scandal broke.

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Protesters furious at the banking scandal demanded "Dignity and Truth"

Pro-Russian separatists have run a breakaway region, Trans-Dniester, since a war with Moldova in the 1990s, and they have Russian backing.

Mr Gaburici was appointed to head a minority coalition government, formed by two pro-EU parties.

"I would like the government to focus on the fight against corruption, depoliticisation of all institutions and on ensuring the security of the financial and banking sector," he said in his resignation address.

On Monday prosecutors said they suspected that a signature and a stamp on two of his school documents had been forged.

In May, an Israeli-born businessman, Ilan Shor, was placed under house arrest in connection with the $1bn that went missing from Unibank, Banca Sociala and Banca de Economii.

Details of the alleged scam were contained in a report by the financial consultancy Kroll, leaked in April. The missing amount is equivalent to one-eighth of Moldova's national output (GDP).