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March 23, 2023

Prosecution, defence trade retorts in ‘Quality Trophy’ court hearin

The prosecutor suggested ex-PM Nastase was on the phone with the former head of the State Inspectorate for Constructions on the very day the institution withdrew from trial. Nastase accuses prosecutors of ‘dirty diversion’.

Ex-PM Adrian Nastase appeared before the five High Court judges hearing his appeal in the ‘Quality Trophy’ case, yesterday. Nastase was sentenced early this year to two years in prison in connection with a fundraise for his 2004 presidential election campaign when he ran for PSD. The former Inspector General of the State Inspectorate for Constructions, Irina Paula Jianu, was sentenced to six years in prison and other four people received six years custodial sentences. Nastase and the other defendants have appealed against the sentences. Also yesterday, the court discussed the letter sent by the State Inspectorate for Constructions (ISC) asking for the cancellation of the document signed by its former chief, Adrian Balaban-Grajdan, and for the reintroduction of ISC as a civil party to the ‘Quality Trophy’ case. Grajdan was dismissed by PM Victor Ponta within a week of appointment to office after he had dropped ISC’s claims in the civil part of the ‘Quality Trophy’ proceedings with the pretext that it had suffered no financial and accounting damage. During the hearings, the prosecutor suggested Nastase had been on the phone with Grajdan on the morning of May 22, the day when ISC pulled out from the trial. More exactly, the prosecutor asked if it was true that Adrian Nastase had spoken to the head of ISC at that hour, but the court granted a request of the defence and declined his question, however allowing the prosecution to submit documents on file at a later stage. Answering a question on whether or not he new Grajdan and talked to him, Nastase said he had not discussed with him ‘anything on the offences for which he had been prosecuted’, accusing the prosecutors of trying to create ‘a dirty diversion’ with such questions. ‘I did not speak with Mr. Grajdan at 5am. (…) They are trying to create this diversion with telephone calls and constructions’ he said. ‘Mr. Grajdan is a member of the party departments. He is a PSD member. I have known him for about two years. I meet Grajdan every Thursday for the PSD department meetings attended by over 100 people’ the ex-PM continued. At the same time, Nastase reiterated the fact that ISC could not have suffered any damage as long as it was not the organiser of the ‘Quality Trophy’ event.  Yesterday, in court, Nastase accused the previous court that had sentenced him in the ‘Quality Trophy’ case o having behaved like a political tribunal handing down a political judgement. ‘The court that heard this case on the merits acted like a political tribunal handing down a political judgment when they said Adrian Nastase should be temporarily removed from society or that Adrian Nastase was the personification of corruption in Romania at that time, all the more so as it came from two judges one of who came straight from DNA’ was Nastase’s argument.  He also pointed out that the three judges that had heard his case on the merits distorted the depositions of two of the witnesses who testified and gave an erroneous interpretation of the notion of material benefit in connection which the accusation made against him. Nastase also holds against the previous court the fact that, although it had admitted to not having any direct evidence against him, it had never fully accounted for its judgement and convicted him based on a logical-legal rationale. ‘I find it abnormal that the court hearing the case on its merits should agree to hear a total of 900 witnesses for the prosecution and only five for the defence, with the note in its motivation that it had only granted by request in part. (…) I have seen no more aberrant thing than the one in the indictment stating that the electoral materials had been made by myself and my wife. I am outrages that, instead of being out there, campaigning, I have to play this obviously political game,’ the former prime minister also said.

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