Moldovan officials release mayor detained for publishing phone call between ex-PM, businessman

Authorities have released the mayor of Moldova's second-largest city, detained on suspicion of violating privacy laws after he published a telephone conversation between the country's former prime minister and a businessman.

Renato Usatii, the pro-Russian mayor of Balti, published a telephone conversation between a businessman and former Prime Minister Vlad Filat, who has been arrested and charged with taking a $260 million bribe.

Usatii was detained Friday for illegally intercepting a telephone conversation, a charge that can lead to up to three years in prison. Judges rejected prosecutors' request to arrest Usatii for 30 days and released him Sunday.

Usatii's party was banned from taking part in the November 2014 parliamentary election because it received money from abroad. He fled to Moscow, but later returned to run for mayor.