Vintu indicted on charges of blackmail
Businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu and Ion Ilie Cezar, who represented Vintu on the Realitatea Media group Board of Administrators, were indicted on charges of blackmail yesterday, according to Mediafax. The two, who are currently under preventive arrest, are accused oh having blackmailed Realitatea TV manager Sebastian Ghita. The trial will be held at the Bucharest District 1 Judge Hall.
According to prosecutors, in March-April this year, Vintu and Cezar threatened Ghita and forced him to pay EUR 150,000 in exchange for maintaining the management contract between Realitatea TV, which was owned by Vintu at the time, and Ghita’s company Asesoft.
The investigation in the case was started after Ghita filed a complaint against the two, saying that they also made death threats against him and his family. Vintu denies the allegations and says the case against him was ordered by President Traian Basescu. In the meantime, he also sold Realitatea TV to another prominent businessman, Elan Schwartzenberg, who announced that he had no plans to cancel the contract with Ghita’s Asesoft.
Vintu has been probed in several high profile cases, most notably in relation to a Ponzi-scheme in the 1990s in which thousands of people lost all their savings. He was acquitted in the case. At the moment, he is also standing trial on charges and abetting an offender, for allegedly helping Nicolae Popa, sentenced to 15 years in prison in the Ponzi scheme case evading justice.
Arges County Council head probed in new case
Embattled Arges County Council President Constantin Nicolescu, already probed for various acts of corruption, is facing new accusations that surfaced during investigations into his first case, according to HotNews.ro which obtained a copy of the indictment. Prosecutors are accusing Nicolescu, a member of the opposition Social—Democrat Party, of having used his “authority and influence” to try to promote judge Doru Mercan to the position of head of the Pitesti Court of Appeals, during a contest organised by the Superior Council of Magistracy between April 10 and June 30, 2009. Prosecutors said the investigation was extended to include another PSD Deputy.
Nicolescu is accused of EU fund fraud, forgery and usury, taking bribes and instigating abuse of position. His trial is set to begin on June 2, at the Arges Tribunal. Several other current and former officials in Arges are probed in the case. Nicolescu insists that he is not guilty and that the file is “political in nature.”
Transcripts show ‘violent nature’ of MP Pasat
The full indictment in the case of Deputy Dan Pasat was obtained and released by HotNews yesterday. According to the website, the document includes transcripts of conversations between Pasat or his accomplice and his victims which confirm that the MP had a “violent nature” and often resorted to threats in his ‘negotiations.’
Pasat is facing several counts of blackmail and corruption and his case was sent to court on April 8. He is accused of having blackmailed Giurgiu County officials and businessmen and coerced them into signing major work contracts with his own companies. As the transcripts revealed, he was forcing businessmen to sign these contracts and pay his companies, although the latter would not actually perform the task they were paid for, the indictment shows.
The transcripts include many physical violence threats voiced both by Pasat and his partner in the illegal dealings, Marian Constantin, aka Marian the Boxer, a known underworld member in Giurgiu. Pasat insists that he is innocent and that he is no threat to society. He also says that the case against him is based on the National Liberal Party’s “political vengeance.” Pasat was elected Deputy in 2008 while he was a PNL member, but then joined the ruling Democrat Liberal Party. He suspended his PDL membership pending inquiries.