The Bucharest City Court yesterday decided to release businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu from custody pending further investigations on charges of blackmail. The same decision was made for Vintu’s accomplice in the case, Ion Ilie Cezar. The ruling is final so the two were expected to be released later yesterday evening.
The two were indicted, while under preventive arrest, on May 23, on charges of blackmail. According to the prosecution, Vintu and Cezar blackmailed and threatened Realitatea TV manager Sebastian Ghita into giving them EUR 150,000 or accepting the unilateral cancellation of the management contract between Realitatea Media Group and Ghita’s Asesoft. At the moment, Vintu was still owner of the media group, but after he was remanded, he sold it to businessman Elan Schwartzenberg. The investigation against Vintu began after Ghita filed a criminal complaint charging that the businessman and his associate Cezar had made death threats against him and his family.
Asesoft took over management of Realitatea Media in October 2010, with plans to invest EUR 75 M in the group over the next five years. After Schwartzenberg said that he purchased 90 per cent of shares in the group, he announced that Ghita would remain manager of the media trust.