The criminal prosecution file shows that businessman Elan Schwartzenberg took the money from Morgenstern and transferred it, in three instalments, to the accounts opened by the Mazare brothers in Israel.
After 24 of detention surrounded by much publicity, the mayor of Constanta was set free Wednesday night by the High Court of Cassation and Justice, which decided that he will remain free during the investigation of the accusation regarding a bribe of EUR 175,000 which Mazare allegedly took from businessman Avraham Morgenstern, in order to secure the winning of the contract for the construction of social homes in the “Henri Coanda” campus.
The businessman, too, will remain at large during the criminal probe. The decision of ICCJ is not definitive and can be challenged at the same court, which the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) on Wednesday evening announced it will do.
Judiciary sources said Wednesday for Mediafax that the brother of the mayor of Constanta, PSD senator Alexandru Mazare is investigated in the same case for bribe taking, after he received money in the context of favouring the company that built the social campus “Henri Coanda”. According to the same sources, the senator was aware of his brother’s criminal activity and offered to help him.
Another person allegedly involved in the case is businessman Elan Schwartzenberg, who introduced Avraham Morgenstern to “people capable” to secure the winning of the auction for “Henri Coanda” and who also took the money from his companies and transferred it to the accounts of the Mazare brothers, say the sources.
Prosecutors quoted by the same press agency said that the bribe given to Mazare by Avraham Morgenstern reached the mayor via Elan Schwartzenberg, in three instalments that were sent to the accounts open by him and his brother in Israel. DNA prosecutors reached this conclusion from the evidence in the case, which also include account reports, witness statements, tapped phone conversations and records at the Registry of Commerce. According to the evidence, receiving the bribe “via a proxy”, similar to suing the escrow account in commercial relations, was proposed by Radu Mazare, who informed Elan Schwartzenberg about his preference for such an account: “Since I learned to do business, I learned to work with the escrow account.” Anticorruption prosecutors also said that the company which won the contract for the construction of home in the “Henri Coanda” campus was seeking methods to increase its profit to the detriment of the quality of its services.
Mazare, however, said Wednesday evening, upon leaving the arrest, that the money transferred to his account by Elan Schwartzenberg represented a debt taken over by him from “a Greek” and no denunciator existed in this file and no bribe was given. In his latest wealth statement, the mayor mentioned, among others, that he gave a loan of EUR 600,000 to a natural person – Ioanis Poulos Skantzikas.
Mazare added that he will propose the party a year-end evaluation of prosecutors, also with respect to the number of arrest proposals admitted by court vs. the total number they make, but deputy PM Dragnea said Thursday that the party will not discuss this idea. Romania General Prosecutor, Tiberiu Nitu also retorted that local leaders investigated for corruption would never praise prosecutors’ work and effort.
The transcripts of phone conversations recorded by DNA in 2011 show that Mazare asked the deputy mayor to “urgently” solve the problem of Morgenstern Avraham. “You will call her to solve the problem today (Mazare tells the deputy mayor referring to the employee of the urbanism department), otherwise I will personally deal with the whole department of urbanism and all the licenses they issue!” Mazare also told his deputy that the problem of issuing a license for Morgenstern’s company must be urgently solved, because the businessman “loses money”, and the mayor loses “image”.
Dragnea: PSD did not block the Justice in the case of the social-democrats under criminal investigation
The executive president of PSD, vice-premier Liviu Dragnea said Thursday, answering a question that PSD did nothing – politically or else – to block the Justice in the case of social-democrats probed criminally. Asked to comment the statements of PSD president Victor Ponta, who said that he will not disavow the PSD members targeted by a criminal probe, in the context of honorary president Ion Iliescu recently asking that Justice is left to do its job, Dragnea answered: “(…) Did you notice, or president Iliescu, that PSD did anything to block the Justice? (…) Di we send troops against the special forces that took Mazare from a restaurant, as Radu Mazare is indeed a monster, a giant carrying swords and pistols?” Dragnea asked.
Radu Mazare said Thursday afternoon that his phone is tapped “since Basescu is in power” and that the records used in the bribe case are taken out of context.