The Supreme Court’s five-judge panel convened on Monday morning to analyse the appeal against the ruling that acquitted National Liberal Party (PNL) President Ludovic Orban in the dossier in which National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors accused him of using his political office – as PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall – to ask businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu for a campaign contribution of EUR 50,000 during last year’s local elections campaign.
On Monday, the PNL President told the judges that he wants to give a statement in his capacity as defendant in this case, but not during Monday’s court hearing, the magistrates being set to hear him a month from now.
The judges took note of Orban’s request and decided he should be heard in his capacity as defendant on October 9.
“There is a court ruling that acquitted me, there is absolutely no kind of guilty act that could have led to the cancellation of the sentence, and in what concerns the appeal, it’s not coming up with any kind of new element. I’m optimistic, confident and I expect justice to be served. The statement I’ll make is the exact reflection of the truth of what happened during that period. I have nothing to hide, I’m at the disposal of the court investigation. The court will deem whether hearing Tiberiu Urdareanu is required,” Orban pointed out when leaving the Supreme Court, where a court hearing analysed the court ruling that acquitted the PNL President.
Former Lower House member Ludovic Orban was acquitted on January 31 by a three-judge panel of the Supreme Court. The ruling was not final and an appeal against it was lodged with the five-judge panel of the Supreme Court, which convened for the first time on Monday in order to analyse the appeal.
Orban was indicted by DNA prosecutors on 17 May 2016. Prosecutors accused him of using his influence to obtain undue benefits.
According to the indictment, on 1 March 2016, Orban, back then First Vice President of PNL, contacted businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu and asked him for his financial support in the local elections campaign scheduled that summer, since Orban had been nominated as PNL’s candidate for the Bucharest City Hall.
Orban met the businessman on March 20 and asked him for EUR 50,000, cash, “not in a legal manner and in excess of the ceiling set by the law on the financing of political parties,” asking for the money to reach persons holding decision-making positions within two television channels, in order for his image to be promoted by them, according to the DNA.
On 11 April 2016, the day he was remanded on conditional bail, Orban announced he will withdraw his candidacy and resign from the office of PNL First Vice President and of Lower House Deputy Speaker. He remained a Lower House member until his term ended in December. On June 18, Ludovic Orban was elected the National Liberal Party’s eighth president since 1989.
“Court already ruled I’m an honest man. I’m waiting for justice to be served”
Ludovic Orban stated on Monday, at the Supreme Court, where the five-judge panel analysed the appeal against the court ruling that acquitted him in a corruption case, that the court had ruled he is “an honest man who hasn’t broken the law,” adding he is now waiting for justice to be served.
“As you know, the court established I’m an honest man, who hasn’t broken the law, a man to whom a great injustice was made; I’m waiting for justice to be served. The DNA’s appeal does not come up with absolutely anything new, it has no kind of argument. I wasn’t the one who requested the meeting with Mr Urdareanu. After I was nominated as candidate, I was contacted and invited at his house. The recordings show I didn’t use in any way the so-called influence of the party leadership office. I didn’t take the money, I didn’t accept the financing and, likewise, nothing shows this allegedly concerned illegal financing,” Ludovic Orban said when arriving at the Supreme Court.