POLITICS

Ioan Avram Muresan sentenced to seven years in prison

Ioan Avram Muresan, a former minister of agriculture, was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for embezzlement of funds. The sentence handed down by Romania’s Supreme Court is final. The five-judge panel has therefore upheld the sentence passed by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in April 2011. The Court is due to issue the execution warrant to be sent to the Baia Mare Legal Proceedings Department over the Ioan Avram Muresan case. Also, the five-judge panel upheld the sentences passed against the other defendants in the case, Ioan Enea Truta and Silvia Capitanu. The court also ruled that the three defendants shall jointly pay RON 2,950,768.89 in civil damages to the Ministry of Agriculture. Jiga Dan has been acquitted on grounds of no deed being found in connection with the charge of taking bribe. Prosecutors accused  Ioan Avram Muresan that, while minister of agriculture, he drafted, in May 1999,  November 1999,  and  April 2000,  several reports for 5,000 tons of cooking oil being taken out of the state reserve and lent to  SC Sun Oil SRL Ramnicul de Jos – Constanta County.  Investigators found that Muresan, Truta and Capitanu changed the destination of the counterpart of the foreign loan given by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to Romania’s Government (according to the convention signed on April 5, 1993) and used the fund for purposes other than those stipulated by Government Resolution HG 949/1999, incurring the Ministry of Agriculture a damage equal to Lei 29,507,688,963 <RON 2,950,768.8963>.The Avram Muresan case originated in a USAID notification demanding explanations over the spending of some amounts of money given for the construction of grain elevators. Ioan Avram Muresan is the first minister tried in a Romanian court on felony charges and also the first Romanian state dignitary put on trial by the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (the current DNA), who serves a seven year jail sentence more than 9 years after the criminal deed was committed. The former minister was taken yesterday by police officers from his home in Baia Mare to be put into preventive arrest.

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