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Two judges – Antonela Costache and Viorica Dinu – from the Bucharest Tribunal were arrested for 24 hours on three influence peddling and bribery charges and will be arraigned in the Bucharest Court of Appeal with the request to be remanded in custody awaiting trial, Romania Libera online informs. Nine other people have been indicted in the same case, three being arrested, including Mugurel Staicu (Dinel Staicu’s brother, released from custody in the Transgaz case with the help of the two judges), Dinel’s lawyer, Ileana Raducu, as well as an archive keeper from the Bucharest Tribunal. The over EUR 100,000 bribe was allegedly paid by Mugurel Staicu via lawyer Raducu. The Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) approved, on Wednesday, searches, including corporal, detention and arrest of judges Antonela Annemary Costache and Viorica Dinu. The two judges are also believed to have had relations with underworld criminal heads whom they have released for bribe. Judges Costache and Dinu have so far been charges with the commission of three influence peddling offences, which means they have intervenes in three different cases for obtaining favourable decisions in criminal cases involving both underworld criminals and white collar cases such as former SIF Oltenia chief Dinel Nutu (Staicu). The money they received in all three cases amounts to over EUR 150,000 judicial sources say, not officially confirmed by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA).
The criminal cases of the underworld crime chiefs were reportedly fixed by making evidence disappear, probably with the complicity of an archive keeper or court clerk. In the white collar cases, the judges helped with expert assessments which annulled the damage claims, judicial sources say. It appears to e a vast and intricate network specialising in fixing criminal cases that apparently are unconnected, but in which judges Antonela Annemary Costache and Viorica Dinu have intervenes either directly or indirectly. One of the cases most certainly is Transgaz, where Dinel Nutu, ex-Staicu, charged for a damage of EUR 11 M, was released from prison this last February. The network under DNA’s scrutiny reportedly includes judges, lawyers, court archive keepers, a court clerk and businessmen suspected of or even convicted on criminal offences, underworld crime heads. Mugurel Staicu, Dinel’s brother, was brought to the DNA on Thursday morning and then detained, being suspected of paying over EUR 100,000 for the release of his brother Dinel Nutu (he changed his name from Staicu to Nutu before being sentenced to seven years in jail in the case concerning the bankruptcy of Banca Internationala a Religiilor – editor’s note). Dinel was detained last February in the Transgaz case handled by DNA’s current interim chief Calin Nistor.The Transgaz case is an offshoot of the “Banca Internationala a Religiilor” case in which Dinel Staicu received a final sentence in abstentia. He was captured in Hungary and brought back to Romania where his sentence was cancelled at the Bucharest Court of Appeals by judges Liliana Badescu and Dumitrita Piciarca.
Dinel Nutu: Judge Antonela Costache did the right and legal thing releasing me
Dinel Nutu stated on Thursday that judges Antonela Costache and Viorica Dinu rejected on several occasions his temporary parole requests and judge Costache did the right and legal thing when she decided to accept his request, Mediafax informs. According to Nutu, Viorica Dinu rejected approximately four or five temporary parole requests, while Antonela Costache did the same thing three or four times, so that in his opinion the fairness of the two Bucharest Court judges cannot be questioned. Nutu, formerly Staicu, stated that Antonela Costache eventually accepted his temporary parole request and that was the fair and legal thing to do given the fact that he spent almost one year in jail in the case concerning the defrauding of the Transgaz Medias patrimony, a case in which he was charged with being an accessory. He pointed out that Viorica Dinu was not part of the panel of judges that ordered his release. Nutu also stated that he spent one year in jail for circumvention, not for the charges brought against him in the Transgaz case. According to him, he could not have been arrested as an accessory since Aurel Gabriel Coconea, the former general manager of Transgaz Medias, who is also on trial, is not in custody.