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January 23, 2022

Former Interior Minister Vasile Blaga, questioned by the DNA

After the transcript of a telephone conversation between Vasile Blaga and a suspect in the file of the ‘Corruption at customs checkpoints’ surfaced Monday in the press, the  National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) summoned the former minister of Interior for questioning Tuesday.

“I was asked to act as witness, due to a phone call I received from Banias, in which he complained about a director being replaced. These were just clarifications. I did no intervene. I don’t do interventions. I never intervened and prosecutors knew that,” the former minister said on Realitatea TV.

Vasile Blaga said that yesterday’s hearing lasted 10-12 minutes, adding that he has nothing to hide and does not fear the existence of other transcripts which could compromise him.

The DNA summoned Blaga just one day after the press unveiled a transcript in the ‘Customs corruption’ file. According to the document, Blaga talked on the phone with Aurel Matiut, former chief of the Timisoara Regional Customs Department, who asked him when he will return home, because they were due to meet each other. Blaga answered that he could be found Friday. The conversation took place on December 21, 2010 and was recorded by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).

The same transcript reveals that Matiut subsequently called Radu Marginean, former chief of the National Customs Authority, and evoked the possible changes in the system, saying that he will learn more from Vasile Blaga, when they will meet. Both Matiut and Marginean are suspects in the ‘Customs corruption’ case. Prosecutors are probing Marginean and four subordinates for allowing several truckloads of smuggled cigarettes to cross the Jimbolia customs checkpoint at the end of 2010. Radu Marginean, a former chief of the National Customs Authority, is accused of bribe taking and influence peddling.

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