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May 19, 2021

Former ministers Remes and Muresan, sentenced to three years in prison

Yesterday’s High Court decision is final.
The five-judge panel of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) yesterday decided to sentence Decebal Traian Remes and Ioan Avram Muresan to three years in prison each over the “Sausage” case file. Businessman Gheorghe Ciorba, the denouncer, was handed down a one and half years suspended sentence in the same case.
Ioan Avram Muresan, a former agriculture minister, was charged with complicity to influence peddling, Decebal Traian Remes, a former minister of agriculture and rural development April-October 2007, to influence peddling, and Gheorghe Ciorba, with buying influence peddling.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutor’s indictment, on September 13 and 23, 2007, Remes, a minister of agriculture and rural development at the time, received foodstuff (sausages and plum brandy) worth RON 1,500 and 15,000 de euro from Gheorghe Ciorba, with Muresan acting as a middleman.
“The money and foodstuff were received in order to SC Construct Europromt SRL Certeze, a company owned by Gheorghe Ciorba’s son, in winning two melioration works public tenders, by means of the minister exercising his influence over the civil servants in charge of public procurements at the Ramnicu Valcea Forestry and Hunting Territorial Inspectorate (ITRSV) – subordinated to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,” DNA prosecutors say.
Businessman Gheorghe Ciorba also allegedly offered in exchange, via Muresan, a luxury car worth EUR 65,000, given his high interest in the award of the ITRSV Ramnicu Valcea tender, prosecutors also showed. Gheoghe Ciorba denounced himself to the DNA, having learned he had already been eyed by prosecutors for trying to buy Decebal Traian Remes’s influence, via Muresan.
On October 10, 2007 TVR aired footage from a meeting between then-agriculture minister Remes  and former minister Ioan Avram Muresan, showing the latter giving an envelope to the former. The footage also contained excerpts of tender-related audio recordings.  Decebal Traian Remes resigned as minister of agriculture on October 11, 2007.
Muresan , sentenced in June 2012 to seven years in prison over a different case, is behind bars already and is most likely to apply for the two sentences to be merged into one. If his application is accepted, he will serve the longer of the two sentences.
Decebal Traian Remes surrendered himself to the Maramures Police yesterday, yet, he was sent home, given the detention documents were yet to arrive. The ICCJ must draft the sentence minutes, which will then be sent to the Maramures County Police Inspectorate in order that the detention warrant is issued and the person concerned is announced, which could take a few hours. However, Remes will only stay behind bars for one year, since, like Adrian Nastase, he will be able to benefit from stipulations in the Penal Code and the Code of Penal Proceedings saying that a male over 60 years of age and good behavior while in detention may be release having served one-third of his prison time.

Ex-senator Catalin Voicu, tried by the same ICCJ panel

The Catalin Voicu corruption file will be judged by the same High Court judge panel that tried the “Sausage” case file, after the former social-democrat senator’s application challenging judge Livia Stanciu was rejected by the High Court yesterday. The five judge panel therefore resumed debating the appeals filed by the DNA and Catalin Voicu, Florin Costiniu, Costel Casuneanu and Marius Locic respectively, over a a corruption file that resulted in prison and suspended sentences. Senator Catalin Voicu’s grounds for challenging Judge Livia Stanciu over the corruption file refer to the judge sitting six times on the judge panel that sentenced him to five years in prison, accusing the ICCJ president of being biased.

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