Businessman, ex-judge heard in Voicu corruption case

Senator Catalin Voicu, who has been held in custody for over ten months, filed a new bail request.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) heard, on Wednesday, the businessman Marius Locic and retired judge Florin Costiniu, investigated in a major corruption case, alongside the senator Catalin Voicu.

Voicu, charged with two instances of prolonged influence peddling and false testimony in private documents in reference to acts of corruption, was deferred to justice on May 21, 2010. In the same case, Costiniu, former head of ICCJ’s Civil Law and Copyright Section, was deferred to justice on charges of acting as accessory to influence peddling, while the businessmen Costel Casuneanu and Locic are investigated for purchasing influence, false testimony in private documents, in relation to acts of corruption, and acting as accessory in intellectual forgery under accounting laws, in relation to acts of corruption. Lo­cic re­coun­ted, before the court, the events described by the prosecutors in the indictment by which Voicu was deferred to justice. Locic recounted how, following a talk with Voicu, in which he had mentioned the threats made by the businessman El Feki Tarek, the senator had scheduled him a meeting with the then-chief of Bucharest Police. Locic further stated that, after his hearing at the Bucharest Police, he had met Voicu and told him his mediation could be dispensed with, as he intended to put an end to the conflict with Tarek by paying the amount the latter had asked for. “On September 14, 2009, I paid Mr. Tarek EUR 310,000 – the damages he had asked for, to drop charges filed against me,” Locic added.

He went on to say that, at the end of September 2009, he had invited Voicu to become one of the lawyers of SC Locic Imobiliare Ltd, to offer legal consultancy on VAT matters. “Voicu told me he could offer consultancy, but not in court, as he was a senator, and, should I need to be represented in court, he would send one of his colleagues,” Locic stated. He added he had found it convenient to pay him ROL 1 bln in advance for all services he was to provide. He also referred to a financial aid which Voicu had called for to help his godson, Radu Dan Florea, but this aid failed to materialize.

In turn, Costiniu stated he had committed no crime and that he had derived no material gain from his relation with Voicu. Costiniu recounted a brief meeting he had had, in late August 2009, at the “Select” restaurant, with the senator, who had asked him to have a look at some documents and to provide legal advice on a case in which Costel Casuneanu was investigated at ICCJ.

On the other hand, Voicu filed, on Wednesday, two bail requests, at the end of the hearing. Voicu’s lawyers filed a petition for his release under judicial control, while the dean of the Bucharest Bar, Ion Ilie Iordachescu, one of Voicu’s lawyers, also presented a petition that the preventive arrest measure be replaced with a ban to leave the country. The latter motivated the petitions on the grounds that all the defendants in the case were heard and, at this stage, Voicu can no longer influence the course of the trial. Voicu’s lawyers also invoked the fact he had been in preventive arrest for 10 months, during which time he was unable to see his family, so that preventive arrest risks turning into anticipated punishment.

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