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April 12, 2021

Two members of the ruling party indicted on corruption charges

The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors deferred to justice the PDL Constanta Senator Mircea Banias and Gratiela Iordache, former deputy of the same party and former state secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

The Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Constanta Senator Mircea Banias was deferred to justice yesterday by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors, being charged with assisting a criminal, Realitatea TV reports. Banias is indicted as “the doer” in the EUR 60 M-tax evasion case at the Resita Plant, the very case in which he was intercepted by DNA.

Said Baaklini, the manager of a Bucharest firm, is under investigation alongside the general manager and the executive of UCM Resita, Adrian Chebutiu and Adrian Coriolan Preda, in a case concerning a EUR 60-illegal VAT return. According to a release remitted by DNA, Chebutiu and Preda are under criminal investigation on charges of tax evasion, association with a view to committing tax evasion, complicity to tax dodge and two instances of intellectual forgery. At the same time, Baaklini stands accused with tax evasion, attempted tax evasion and association with a view to committing tax evasion. The Senator, also the leader of the PDL Constanta organization, claims his involvement, by DNA, in this case is an “absurd tale”. “I learned, today, that the DNA prosecutors apparently charged me with assisting a criminal in the case of illegal VAT returns following commercial transactions at UCM Resita. What I can say, first and foremost, as a preliminary remark, is that the charge of assisting a criminal cannot count as a charge of corruption. Secondly, and this is what I told the DNA prosecutors, whom I went to see of my own accord to find out what it’s all about, as I was outraged when my name was mentioned in reference to this affair, I’ve never met this man, Said Baaklini, who seems to be at the heart of the affair. I simply don’t know how I was involved in this affair,” Banias stated.

iordache – eur 44 m-damage

The former state secretary in the Ministry of Public Finance (MFP), Gratiela Iordache (photo), was indicted, on the same day, on charges of acting as accessory to tax evasion, in a case related to the former National Company “Tutunul Romanesc”, which became SC Galaxy Tobacco SA. According to DNA, in order to dodge the legal obligations of paying taxes and VAT on the deliveries of raw or partially processed tobacco, Romanian Vasile Duta and Italian Antonello Celestini, representatives of SC Galaxy Tobacco SA, performed a series of fraudulent manoeuvres, meant to conceal the taxable source represented by the delivery of approximately 1,000 tonnes of tobacco, to the Italian firm CTS Ltd. Their criminal acts caused total damages of RON 186,173,777.29 (approx. EUR 44 M) to the state budget, resulting from the failure to pay taxes applicable to the transfer of the 1,000 tonnes of tobacco. The damaging acts were facilitated by the defendants Iordache Gratiela Denisa, state secretary in MFP, also acting as director in the Tax-related Legal Department, and Badescu Livia, acting as department head in the same department. The two wilfully signed an address to fiscal authorities, namely, to the National Customs Authority (ANV) within the National Tax Administration Authority (ANAF), exempting the raw tobacco transaction from the payment of taxes, qualifying the trade report signed by the two companies as a “civil agreement”. The address was binding in nature, and, under its incidence, ANV’s regional agents allowed the aforementioned 1,000 tonnes of tobacco to leave the country without the payment of taxes and VAT.

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