Powered by Max Banner Ads
The magistrates of the District 4 Court have admitted yesterday, after over eight hours of debates, Adrian Nastase’s early release request. The former Social-Democrat Premier has so far spent almost eight month in jail after he was sentenced last June to two years in prison for his involvement in the “Quality Trophy” case. The decision is not final however. Minutes after the verdict was read, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors attacked the decision at Bucharest Court. Thus, the former Premier will remain in prison until the appeal will be judged in three days’ time. If the Bucharest Court upholds the District 4 Court’s ruling Adrian Nastase will be released.
During the Court session, the case prosecutor tried to hamper the early release of the ex-PM yesterday, arguing that the Sector 4 Court of Bucharest did not have jurisdiction on Nastase’s request and asked that the case was moved to the Cornetu Court. The former prime minister lawyers, on their part, said the prosecutor’s request was discriminatory. The court declined the request for moving the case to a different court. The prosecutor then moved on to questioning the quality of Adrian Nastase’s scientific works written while in prison, on which he based his application for early release. Moreover, the DNA prosecutor asked the Court to decline the former PM’s request to for early release, with the argument that the inmate ‘had not demonstrated that he had straightened up his attitude’ while in prison, in fact continuing to express opinions on the judges who had convicted him in the ‘Quality Trophy’ affair. Nastase’s lawyers however dismantled the arguments of the prosecutor one by one.
On the other hand, the ex-PM yesterday made a surprising assertion before the Court that was called to decide on his early release from prison, saying that he would never stand for election as president of the republic. ‘I am making this announcement here, to reassure everyone. (…) I know that DNA doesn’t quite fancy me. Actually, I have known this for eight years now. As for the sentence, I have never commented it in any way, I have served it. I believe every citizen of Romania still has the right to express himself. My attitude has been to respect the sentence handed down to me’, realitatea.net quotes Nastase as having told the Court.
Ponta hoped for Nastase’s release
Prior to the verdict being handed down, PM Victor Ponta said he was looking forward to the decision with ‘a strained heart’, saying he hoped the ex-PM was released. ‘First of all, I wish for a favourable decision, first of all from a human point of view. I think it’s the most important thing for the family, and for all of us close to him. (…) Afterwards we will also discuss politics, but this is the most important thing and I’m not hiding that I am waiting for the decision with a strained heart. I hope for a positive verdict’, Mediafax quotes Ponta as having said.
On the other hand, the former PM’s eldest son, Andrei Nastase, said that, in his opinion, his father had paid enough. ‘Regardless of the situation, it will be eight months in a few days from now, not considering the work (…)’, he said. As for the execution of property, Andrei Nastase says the damage claimed by the State Inspectorate for Constructions (ISC) will be paid up. ‘ISC is not asking for it, it is not execution of property as it as been suggested, it is a voluntary payment. After all, we have been convicted and one of the components of the case was that hypothetical damage. This is how things are, we’ll see what we can do, we have to pay that’, said the former premier’s son.
Adrian Nastase was incarcerated on June 26, 2012, having been convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in a case known by the name of ‘Quality Trophy’ in connection with the financing of his 2004 election campaign. The DNA charge brought against the former prime minister was that, in 2004, he organised a symposium to camouflage a fundraising for his presidential election campaign where he was PSD’s candidate competing with Traian Basescu. The event – ‘Quality Trophy in Constructions’ – was organised by ISC, but the participation fees (over EUR 1,6 M) ended up with four companies controlled by two Nastase family acquaintances, Prosecution claimed. From there, the money that, under the law, should have been fed into ISC’s budget, was moved on to a company that provided various services for the Social-Democratic leader’s campaign. DNA prosecutors demonstrated the organiser of the incriminated event had been Irina Jianu, at the time ISC Inspector General, position to which she had been appointed thanks to her connections at the top of PSD. The total amount raised from participation fees was ROL 67.4 bn, the damage caused to ISC being almost ROL 70 bn (the equivalent of approximately EUR 1.75 M at the time), DNA also say.