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September 25, 2021
POLITICS

Fresh dispute over phone recordings, former minister Dobre under investigation

Prosecutors recorded the phone conversations between the former minister of Interior and the former delegate minister of Administration, in the case of figures used in the referendum. Constitutional Court to be convened in plenum meeting tomorrow.

Former ministers Victor Paul Dobre and Ioan Rus had their phones monitored by prosecutors, under a warrant issued by the Supreme Court of Justice.
According to their phone conversations leaked to the press, the former delegate minister of Administration, Victor Paul Dobre complained to the former minister of Interior, Ioan Rus that he was attacked by PNL deputy Relu Fenechiu. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to run away from this organised criminal group?” a friend warned him, as revealed by the records.
According to the same source, Ioan Rus told Victor Paul Dobre, in a talk about electoral lists on August 4, that he told them that “he will not sign for adding or subtracting one single man,” because “I really don’t want to grow old in jail!” Ion Rus told Victor Paul Dobre that they are asked to demonstrate that the referendum is valid and they must do “that quorum.” “How can we do it?” Rus asked Dobre in a phone talk recorded the evening of August 4, as mentioned by the document in which prosecutors demand the approval to start a criminal probe against the former minister of Administration, Victor Paul Dobre.
The former minister of interior added that some claim that they oppose, that he is the president’s man and Dobre got himself “converted.” The former Interior minister also told Dobre that he will not sign to add or subtract even one man! “This is it! (…) I don’t understand, this is an important political gesture which… Well, it is important, but I really don’t want to grow old in jail!”
According to the same records, Dobre complained to Rus that he was attacked by PNL deputy Relu Fenechiu. On August 3, Dobre told Ioan Rus in a phone conversation, about the president and premier having agreed that he would resign from the position of delegate minister for Administration, something completely ignored by Rus.
“I was attacked by important people, like Mr. Fenechiu, and when I asked, I was told that this was what the president and Ponta had agreed,” Dobre told Rus, according to the leaked phone records.
Asked by the latter about the reason of this decision, Victor Paul Dobre (photo) answered: “I don’t know. Because I signed that there are 18,300,000 on the lists. Which is true, but this is a different story.”
The same day, later, Victor Paul Dobre told a certain Vlad that “Vela, from Prahova, and Fenechiu demolished me” and that “an entire madness” is about to happen. His interlocutor asked him if it wouldn’t be better for him to run away “from this organised criminal group.”
On August 4, Dobre also informed “Ludovic” that he had been asked to resign. Asked by “Ludovic” about why he had to resign and if he had any influence in the whole story, Dobre answered: “No, I just gave an answer. The Court asked me how many (voters) are on the permanent electoral lists and I gave it an exact answer.” The Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) asked the Chamber of Deputies to approve the beginning of the criminal probe against the former delegate minister for Administration, Victor Paul Dobre, for misuse of authority, because he and state secretary Ioan Cabulea signed a document stating that MAI cannot guarantee for the number of voters, which was sent to the Constitutional Court by the chief of the ID Management Department, Constantin Manoloiu. In the document by which they demand the approval for the criminal probe against Victor Paul Dobre, prosecutors say that the former delegate minister for Administration “knew from the moment when he took the criminal decision and sent the document, which was not complying with legal provisions, the consequences of his deeds, which deeds eventually led to the resignation of the minister of Administration and Interior.”
“In order to minimise his deeds, he decided to resign and to say that he resigned because he did not want to commit criminal deeds,” prosecutors wrote in the document.
Dobre and Rus resigned from the positions of delegate minister for Administration and, respectively minister of Administration and Interior on August 6.
USL: CSM should take action in the case of leaked phone records
PNL MEP Ramona Manescu said Saturday that USL demands the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) to take notice about the illegally taped phone conversations between Victor Paul Dobre and Ioan Rus, adding that USL will not accept in Parliament the request of PICCJ concerning Dobre. In a press conference, Manescu said that, as minister of Interior, Rus was a member of the CSAT and, as provided by law, he should have been informed that his phone talks are being recorded.
“USL considers that all pressure means are being used to block the validation by the Constitutional Court of the referendum that impeached Mr. President Traian Basescu, with an overwhelming score of 7.4 million votes,” Ramona Manescu stated.
Manescu described prosecutors’ request as “an abuse,” adding that Romania returned “to the political trials of the 1950s.” “No matter what motive there is for taping their phones, leaking these conversations to the press is a revolting Stalinist diversion meant to blackmail and denigrate the state institutions,” Manescu stated.
On the other hand, Timisoara mayor Nicolae Robu referred to the dialogue between Rus and Dobre, saying that “Rus obviously speaks like someone who knows that his phone is monitored – maybe he recorded the conversation himself.” Nobody asked mayors to modify the electoral lists by “even one letter.” Robu, who is also the president of PNL Timis, told the press Saturday that the former minister of Interior, Ioan Rus tried hard to “damage the image of USL” and improve his own image.
EPP president urges Ponta government to hand over the voters’ lists
The president of the European People’s Party (EPP), Wilfried Martens demanded the Bucharest government to provide, without delay, to the Constitutional Court (CC) the lists of voters it requested, mentioning that any delay raises doubts over the real intentions of Premier Victor Ponta.
“The Constitutional Court of Romania clearly asked the government of Romania to give it the voters’ lists used for the referendum for impeaching the president of Romania, Traian Basescu. I am consternated to see that the Social-Liberal government led by PM Victor Ponta has not answered this demand yet, thus hampering the work of the Constitutional Court. I appeal to the government to provide without delay to the Court the lists of voters. Any delay raises doubts over the real intentions of Ponta. The decisions of the Constitutional Court must be observed; they must not be manipulated or prevented by any means,” the EPP president said. According to Martens, the political crisis provoked by the USL government seriously affected the political and economic credibility of Romania.
The leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda on Thursday appealed to the Bucharest administration and the European leaders to take a firm stance in defence of democracy and the rule of law, accusing the EPP that it does not react in the case of Traian Basescu and of the independence of justice.
Answering Swoboda, Martens told the European Socialists that PM Victor Ponta represented Romania in the European Council, despite the clear decision of the CC.

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