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April 15, 2021
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Supreme Court going after union leader Marius Petcu

Judges have analyzed the anti-corruption prosecutors’ appeal against the decision to prosecute the trade union leader while free.

Yesterday was a decisive day for Marius Petcu, the trade union leader prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Office (DNA) for bribe taking. Although the appeal that the anti-corruption prosecutors filed against the Bucharest Court of Appeals decision to have Petcu prosecuted while free should have been analyzed in the morning, the Supreme Court postponed the proceedings for 2 PM. The Supreme Court was yet to reach a decision by the time this edition closed.


Petcu refused to make any statements in front of the Supreme Court judges, stating that he maintains the position he expressed both in front of the court of first instance and during the DNA’s investigation. In fact, he pointed out that the “defence strategy” is set by his lawyers, the latter seeking primarily to have him prosecuted while free. “We are trying to convince the Supreme Court that I’m not a public danger and I have the right to be trialed while free,” Marius Petcu stated before the trial started.


His lawyers filed to court yesterday the Sanitas Federation’s statute as well as a series of documents that regulate the way in which the trade union organization is organized and operates, particularly those that concern the way in which contracts are offered to other companies. The documents primarily concern the contract offered to Electronics SRL, a company led by Petre Scrieciu, in order for it to build the Federation’s centre for education, training and recreation in Snagov. On the other side, the anti-corruption prosecutors filed to court the contents of the telephone conversations between Petcu and Scrieciu, trying to prove that the trade union leader was allegedly willing to take a new bribe in exchange of offering new construction works to the company owned by Scrieciu. The prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to cancel the Bucharest Court of Appeal decision that allowed Petcu to be prosecuted while free, with one of the reasons taken into account by the court of first instance being that Petcu’s principled agreement to offer new construction works to Scrieciu does not represent evidence that the trade union leader will commit new crimes.


In reply, Alice Draghici, one of Marius Petcu’s lawyers, stated that the anti-corruption prosecutors are “juggling” with the procedures, pointing out that the charges against her client rely “exclusively” on the transcript of a dialogue he had with Petre Scrieciu and on the statements made by the Mustatas, the latter being “favored” by the DNA. Marius Petcu’s lawyers did not argue that he did not receive money from Scrieciu, however they accuse DNA prosecutors of not making sure that the sum was not in fact a loan as their client claims to have been the case. “Looking at Sanitas’s statute, which we didn’t file to court by chance, you will see that contracts are distributed collegially, with the federation’s approval, not from the point of view of Ordinance 60 which regulates the manner in which public contracts are offered. Not every sum a person receives is a crime.”


PETCU TEMPORARILY STEPS DOWN FROM ALL TRADE UNION OFFICES


Marius Petcu announced yesterday that he temporarily stepped down from all leadership offices he held within the trade union and professional organizations he represented in order to place himself at the disposal of the control bodies. The National Council of the Sanitas Federation took note of Petcu’s decision. The option to sack him was not put up for vote because the organizations that supported that option were far too small in number.


Petcu claims that the villa he owns in Predeal, a villa that prosecutors estimate at EUR 200,000 and claim it was received as bribery from businessman Petre Scrieciu, was in fact the result of “ceding some parts of a company’s social capital.”


“That isn’t a villa, it’s a mud brick house if you want. I didn’t receive it from Scrieciu,” the trade union leader stated for Mediafax. On the other hand, the trade union leader claims that he has known for the past 11 years those that came out with statements against him (the Mustatas – editor’s note).

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