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August 3, 2021

Supreme Court bribe consisted of jewelry and trips abroad

The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) yesterday formally announced that two female judges at the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) – Romania’s Supreme Court – are being criminally investigated in a Supreme Court case file.

Gabriela Birsan, president of the Supreme Administrative Court and wife of Corneliu Birsan, the judge representing Romania at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and Iuliana Pusoiu, also a judge at the Supreme Administrative Court, are eyed by anti-corruption prosecutors for influence peddling, and so are Claudia Gherbovan Silinescu, a lawyer with the Bucharest Bar Association, and businessman Gabriel Chiriac, also for influence peddling. DNA prosecutors say that judges Gabriela Birsan and Iuliana Pusoiu received jewelry and other benefits in exchange for favorable verdicts in pending Supreme Administrative and Fiscal Court cases.

Mediafax quoted the criminal proceedings resolution as stating that during May 2010-May 2011, Birsan and Pusoiu repeatedly received from lawyer Gherbovan-Silinescu various benefits including jewelry, the money equivalent of plane tickets and lodging accommodations abroad., as well as paid bills of  restaurant parties, and the free use of a apartment in Paris, France. The said benefits were received in exchange for favorable verdicts in pending court cases involving businessman Gabriel Chiriac.

Corruption charges have also been pressed against three more judges under preliminary investigations, with another six to make statements about the accused. Yesterday’s “Romania Libera” wrote that they too allegedly favored businessman Chiriac. According to the source cited, at first, it was alleged that judges Corina Corbu and Nicolae Manigutiu, also at the Supreme Administrative Court, passed verdicts in Chiriac’s favour. Later on, information emerged that the two warned Birsan and Pusoiu about having their conversations tapped by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI). Corbu and Manigutiu received the supposedly-classified information from a fellow judge at the Supreme Criminal Court who signed the wiring warrant.

The same source says that Corbu, a former Superior Magistracy Council secretary during the tenure of the Lidia Barbulescu – Dan Lupascu team, is a close friend of the Birsans, and Manigutiu, of the Pusoius.

Birsan, Pusoiu and Gherbovan-Silinescu had been fellow judges at Bucharest courts for years. The lawyer, the niece of General Tudor Constantin Silinescu, former deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, was, according to the source quoted, out of magistracy following an adoption scandal and became a lawyer.

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