POLITICS

Dinu Patriciu cleared in Rompetrol file

The decision is not final and may be challenged in a higher court.

After two delays, the trial of businessman Dinu Patriciu in the Rompetrol file ended yesterday with an acquittal by the Bucharest Tribunal, which dismissed all charges of embezzlement, money laundering and market rigging, Mediafax reports. The court also acquitted the other 11 co-defendants in the case. The decision is not final and may be challenged by prosecutors in a higher court.Patriciu once again claimed yesterday on Realitatea TV, that he and the other 11 people charged in the file are innocent, and no incriminating evidence exists against them. “It was an ugly story. I am convinced that politics had nothing to do with solving this case, eventually,” the businessman added.Dinu Patriciu’s lawyer Ovidiu Budusan told Mediafax that the acquittal of his client in the Rompetrol file could have been anticipated, as it was preceded by previous decision in this case. According to the lawyer, several verdicts given by Romanian courts in the Rompetrol file or related to it prefigured the acquittal. Budusan mentioned the rejection of a request to put his client in preventive arrest, the release of some impounded assets and the censuring of phone conversations recorded by the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).The Bucharest Tribunal ended the trial of the Rompetrol file on July 18, and announced a verdict for August 2. Then, it postponed the decision for August 20, according to Mediafax. At the last term, the prosecutors of the Supreme Court sought the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for Dinu Patriciu and Alexandru Bucsa, and the minimum sentence of 10 years for the rest of the lot. Along with Patriciu, co-defendants in the case are Alexandru Bucsa, Petrica Grama, Florin Iulian Aldea, Cerasela Elena Rus, Claudiu Simulescu, Sorin Stefan Rosca Stanescu, Sorin Pantis, Victor Eros, Paul Gabriel Miclaus, Elena Albu and Gabriela Victoria Anghelache. According to prosecutors, the criminal activity of the defendants was analysed with two respects: the Libya claim (the first three counts against Patriciu, also the counts against Grama and Bucsa) and fixing the capital market.Before being accused in this case, Dinu Patriciu was detained on other charges, on 27 May 2005, after being questioned by DIICOT prosecutors more than 13 hours. However, a court set him free hours later, ruling that he can stay at large during the investigation. Subsequently, the Superior Council of Magistracy confirmed that procedures had been infringed in the case of Patriciu’s detention.Placing Dinu Patriciu under arrest sparked many reactions throughout the political and business communities.The PM of those years, Calin Popescu Tariceanu called then general prosecutor Ilie Botos the day Patriciu was summoned and detained by prosecutors, as confirmed by the press office of the Public Ministry. According to the source, the premier asked Botos about the accusations against Patriciu – a move that provoked a huge political and legal row.

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