POLITICS

Retired general questioned in limousine theft case

The former head of the Directorate General Intelligence of the Army, Francisc Radici, is a suspect in a stolen car dealing case, Mediafax quotes investigation sources as saying.

The Automotive Theft Department of the Bucharest Police yesterday searched a total of 32 addresses of the members of a criminal group, suspects of motor-vehicle fraud, in Bucharest and the Counties of Ilfov, Galati, Sibiu, Iasi and Alba, Bucharest Police reports in a press release. The group had been watched since November 2012 and the estimated damage so far amounts to EUR 200,000, Police say. Sources close of the investigation have told Mediafax that over 20 suspects were going to be interviewed after the searches, including retired General Francisc Radici and a policeman from Station 5, on aiding and abetting charges. The general had been recently indicted in a distinct case regarding the illegal purchase of MoD work homes. Sources from among the investigators say Francisc Radici has mediated the recovery of a stolen car, for money. The victim had all the papers of the car in the glove compartment when the vehicle was stolen and, when he notified the insurance company claiming damages, was unable to present the registration documents for the car and the spare key.

The victim then announced in various environments that he was willing to pay a certain ransom for the stolen car. Francisc Radici apparently offered to help him. The former chief of the Directorate General Intelligence of the Romanian Army allegedly told the owner of the stolen car the exact sum he was supposed to pay and he retained a commission, say the sources quoted by Mediafax. The criminal group suspected of luxury vehicle theft was made up of 26 people, one of the leaders being Liviu David, the brother of Constantin David, convicted in the case of the theft of Gigi Becali’s car, the sources also say. The head of the Motor-vehicle Theft Service, Marian Iorga, said on Monday that the thefts had been operated by a very characteristic method for Bucharest, after the driver left the key in the ignition and the engine running. The investigators also looked into offences of fraud involving leased cars. According to Iorga, seven theft petitions have been proved in this case so far. ‘So far, we have managed to administer evidence in seven cases of theft and three criminal cases involving passenger vehicles acquired under lease agreements. We have found six out of the seven cars and two of the cars belonging to the lease companies. These are luxury foreign vehicles with a market value of 15-20,000 euro’, Iorga explained.

The chief of the Motor-vehicle Theft Department also said that among the checked persons there are also some of the victims, who had become suspects as, after filing the complaints regarding the theft of the cars, they would pay ransom to get them back. Asked to comment the involvement of a former Army general and a policeman in the affair, Commissar Marian Iorga answered: ‘As demonstrated also in other systems, many a good father hath a bad son. We are investigating into possible offences committed by these people and, in the end, according to the evidence gathered, we will also take measures in their case.’Iorga noted that some of the stolen cars had been retrieved with the help of the Directorate Special Operations of the Romanian Police and of the officers with the Directorate General Intelligence and Internal Protection. Some of them had been already sold to well-intended buyers. ‘The thieves would follow the owners until they stopped wither to take some money out of an ATM or do some small shopping. If the driver left ignition on, he would become a pedestrian in a matter of seconds’, said the quoted sources. The policemen also took in to the Motor-vehicle Theft Department two of the alleged victims who have paid ransom for their cars and who did not file a complaint with the Police.

They told the investigators they knew nothing about the thieves, therefore are now under investigation on aiding and abetting charges, the sources also note. The members of the criminal group ate also accused of fraud, after getting several cars under lease contracts they would forge their papers and then sell them on to buyers of good faith.

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