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August 14, 2022

Diplomat Silviu Ionescu, sent to court

Romania’s former charge d’affaires to Singapore, Silviu Ionescu was arrested and sent to court by the prosecutors of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, charged with manslaughter, personal injury, hit and run accident, and false statement. According to a press release sent to Agerpres by the General Prosecutor’s Office, in the early morning of 15 December 2009, around 3.10 AM, Silviu Ionescu – Romania’s interim attaché to Singapore – was driving an Audi A6, property of the Romanian Embassy.

As he ran a red light, he hit two people aged 30 and 24, who were crossing the street. The diplomat abandoned his victims and drove to the next crossroads, where he rammed another pedestrian, aged 18. He ran away from the spot and abandoned the car in an industrial area of the city. One of the three victims died from internal injuries, while the other two victims survived, but were seriously injured.

According to the forensic report, the victim of the first accident, aged 30, died 3 days after the hit and run, from the intracranial haemorrhage and brain damage caused by the impact.

The second victim of the first accident sustained life-threatening injuries that required 70-80 days to heal and may result in physical disability.

After the accident, Silviu Ionescu left the state of Singapore under a false pretext, infringing the diplomatic procedures. The secretary of the Romanian Embassy in Singapore, Maria Trusca – the wife of the diplomat’s driver – told prosecutors that, on 17 December 2009, Ionescu drafted two documents to be sent to the Foreign Ministries of Singapore and Romania, announcing his departure from the Asian state. Then, he hastily reserved a place on a flight to Romania and instructed the secretary to send the two documents after the departure of his plane, at 11.00 PM.

On May 8, Silviu Ionescu was arrested in Romania and charged by prosecutors with trying to influence several witnesses. “Investigations so far led to the conclusion that he prevailed himself of the diplomatic impunity he enjoyed, he left the state of Singapore and, after the accident, he tried to influence witnesses’ statements and asked by SMS to an employee to make retroactive entries in the logbook of the Audi A6 car, which would allow deleting some data from his office computer,” the General Prosecutor’s Office wrote in a press release.

The case stirred controversies among other diplomats in Singapore, as well. Romanian Silviu Ionescu proved to be the black sheep of the diplomatic community and behaved like a coward when he fled Singapore, senior diplomats told The Straits Times at the time.

They were concerned about a backlash from the coroner’s finding that the former Romanian charge d’affaires was responsible for last December’s hit-and-run accident which left a man dead. They feared that public anger against diplomats might escalate if people perceive diplomats as those who can get away scot-free after committing an offence because they have diplomatic immunity.

Polish Ambassador Waldemar Dubaniowski said diplomats were generally law-abiding, and added: ‘Every group has a black sheep in its midst.’

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