POLITICS

Antena Group head to find out on Thursday if he remains in custody

PM Ponta said yesterday he had not been blackmailed either by President Traian Basescu or by Antena 3 TV, adding that any more
similar allegations by the mass-media regarding the activity of the Government would bring about a complaint to CNA, under the law.

Bucharest Tribunal judges will hear on Thursday the appeal introduced by the lawyers representing Sorin Alexandrescu, Antena TV Group Manager, against the decision of the Court of Law of District 1 to remand him in custody for 29 days, awaiting trial, upon DNA prosecutors’ request. Alexandrescu’s lawyer, Gheorghita Mateut, introduced the appeal last Friday, shortly after the remand order had been passed.
Alexandrescu is under investigation on a blackmail charge. The prosecutors claim he forced a company administrator to sign an agreement on his terms, threatening to publish supposedly compromising facts involving that person. Dumitru Dragomir, the President of the Professional Football League, afterwards confirmed that the company in question was the cable service provider RCS-RDS, with which Dan Voiculescu’s media trust has been fighting a long commercial war over the past few years.
Romania TV yesterday quoted official documents stating that DNA say Alexandrescu had collaborated with the founding president of the Conservative Party and former owner of the Intact media trust, Dan Voiculescu, as well as with his daughter, Camelia, the current owner of the trust, in organising the blackmail.
Yesterday, the District 1 Tribunal published the motivation for its decision to remand Alexandrescu in custody, showing that ‘he used his top position in the group to derive economic benefits, the value of the sought expedience being extremely high’. ‘The Court further notes in its motivation document that ‘the public interest calls for the adoption of preventive measures against the defendant in order to secure the protection of the public against such reprehensible behaviour that affects its right to receiving professional information via mass-media’. The Court says Sorin Alexandrescu ‘took advantage of the outstanding impact he could have on the public, using such power for carrying out criminal activities’.

Threats
Antena 3 TV said it would take Romania TV, its editorial director and the producers of the ‘Newsdesk’ programme for spreading completely false information during the show aired on June 1 for the purpose of hurting the image of Antena 3 TV, its journalists and the entire media group it belongs to. Each of the Antena 3 TV journalists named in the ‘Newsdesk’ show on June 1 will individually sue the persons who contributed to the programme, claiming image damages proportional with the seriousness of the injurious assertions that were made. Dan Voiculescu, in his turn, yesterday denied on his blog the fact that he had fled the country following the arrest of the Antena TV Group manager, Sorin Alexandrescu, as RTv said Sunday night. He did confirm that he was away, but noted that his trip had absolutely nothing to do with the arrest of Alexandrescu. ‘These past few days, speculating on a commercial conflict distorted into a criminal case for reasons I know will be soon clarified in Court, a new raging denigration campaign has been launched against me, my family and the Intact trust,’ he further says.

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