Hearings in Constanta Port corruption defendants’ appeal

Mironescu: I was offered the office as MAI Secretary General by Minister Igas.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice yesterday heard the appeals made by the lawyers representing the 28 people arrested in the Constanta smuggling case.

Former Interior Ministry (MAI) Secretary General Laurentiu Mironescu said that ‘apart from two or three people’, he did not know any of the members of the 28 lot and that ‘he had not entered into any relations concerning the Constanta Customs.’ In addition, Mironescu says his position at the ministry was offered to him by Minister Igas, without any kind of political support. ‘The offer was made to me by Minister Igas during our first meeting and I had no kind of support from my Organisation (…). During our first dialogue, he told me I was supposed to undress myself of my politician’s cloths and act like a manager. He also said that, should we not manage to get along, we would just say hello to each other and shake hands when meeting in the street’, said Mironescu. He said that, in 2008, when he lost election for Parliament, his political situation became marginal and that he did not use his political influence. ‘I pursued the office of general manager of the Constanta Port, because I had held it in the past. I also applied with the Constanta County Standing Bureau for the position, based on my CV. I did not obtain that kind of influence because of my political decline during these last two years,’ said the former secretary general of the Ministry of Administration and Interior.

He further noted that he could have not been a part of the same criminal group as PDL Senator Mircea Banias because they were not on the best of terms. ‘I have not talked to Mr. Banias (PDL Deputy Mircea Banias – our note) since December 2009 and to Mr. Bogatu (ex Constanta Port head Eugen Bogatu – our note) SINCE September 2009. When I and Mr. Bogatu see each other we don’t even say hello.’

Yesterday morning, judges also questioned Adrian Sorin Patrascu – the police officer in charge with the Constanta ‘Naval Group’ of the Border Police General Inspectorate, who is a suspect in the same case. The officer denied any wrongdoing and said that, in his position of high-ranking police officer, he did not provide information on the controls made at the Constanta Customs Checkpoint. Patrascu added that he knows two of the suspects in the same case, whom he used as informants in police operations. According to Patrascu, the “coded” phone talks brought as evidence against him are, in fact, usual conversations with these two informants, and he never asked them any material benefit. Patrascu is accused of bribe taking and intention to reveal classified information to third parties, paid with products brought from China.

The case investigated by the DNA refers to corruption crimes related to the import-export of merchandise from outside the European Union, through customs offices controlled by the Regional Department for Excise Duties and Customs Operations (DRAOV) Constanta.

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