Supreme Court lifts ban on leaving the country ruled against Elena Udrea in case concerning the elections campaign of 2009, but similar prohibition remains standing in another case

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On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected, in a final ruling, the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) appeal against the Bucharest Court of Appeals decision to modify the conditions of the conditional bail on which Elena Udrea was remanded in the case concerning the illegal financing of the elections campaign of 2009, in the sense that she is allowed to leave the country. However, she is currently investigated while on conditional bail in the Microsoft case too, so she remains unable to leave Romania without the prosecutors’ consent.

“It’s true I’m investigated while on conditional bail in another case too, but I’m sure the new DNA prosecutor who has taken over the case from Ms Mihaiela Moraru, who left, will understand the situation and admit the request,” Elena Udrea stated when leaving the Supreme Court, where the DNA appeal against the ruling of the Bucharest Court of Appeals was tried.

Asked where she wants to go, the former Development Minister claimed she does not have a specific target and is talking about a principle.

“People have various problems. When you are under conditional bail, with your rights limited for almost three years, one can suppose you may need to leave the country. I don’t think it’s a surprise that after three years in which I’ve been a citizen with limited rights I’m asking for the right to become a normal citizen until there is a final ruling,” Elena Udrea added.

On August 31, the Bucharest Court of Appeals had ruled that ex-minister Elena Udrea – on trial for instigating passive bribery – can leave the country while on conditional bail. The court ruling was not final. Back then, ex-minister Elena Udrea was at the Bucharest Court of Appeals, where she challenged the conditions of the conditional bail ruled against her in the dossier concerning the financing of the presidential elections campaign of 2009. In this case, Elena Udrea is accused of money laundering and instigating passive bribery, while Ioana Basescu, ex-President Traian Basescu’s eldest daughter, is accused of money laundering and instigating embezzlement.

In May 2017, DNA prosecutors indicted former Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea for instigating passive bribery and money laundering; Gheorghe Nastasia – former secretary general within the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry – and Victor Tarhon – former chairman of the Tulcea County Council – for passive bribery; Ioana Basescu, ex-President Traian Basescu, for instigating embezzlement and money laundering; Ioan Silviu Wagner, managing director of a state-owned company, for embezzlement. Likewise, the DNA indicted Dan Andronic for perjury and aiding and abetting.

On July 6, Supreme Court magistrates decided that the dossier concerning the financing of the presidential elections campaign of 2009 should be sent to the Bucharest Court of Appeals. However, on July 19, the Bucharest Court of Appeals decided it lacks the competence to try this case, and sent the case back to the Supreme Court.

After the Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Supreme Court, former MP Elena Udrea stated that the dossier should have been sent back to the DNA and that the charges included in the indictment do not match the legal classification of offences, magistrates not knowing how to proceed with this case.

In their indictment, prosecutors claim that in 2009, against the backdrop of the presidential elections campaign, the proceeds of corruption, embezzlement and tax evasion were collected and subsequently used to pay services rendered during the elections campaign.

According to the prosecutors, Elena Udrea was the link between the persons who obtained the proceeds of crime and the providers of elections campaign services. At that moment, she was in charge of the informal campaign staff of one of the candidates and, in this capacity, was coordinating both the procurement of campaign services and the persons who acted as middlemen for the payments made to the service providers. The remittance of the proceeds of crime was covered up through the use of fictitious contracts signed with companies that were in fact providing services as part of the elections campaign, namely outdoor advertising, printing of posters, media advertising, the building of webpages, press monitoring, shows and consultancy services, the DNA prosecutors point out.