POLITICS

Nita and Vulpescu questioned in ‘Hidroelectrica Bribe’ case

Minister Delegate for Energy denies any wrongdoing.

Constantin Nita, Minister Delegate for Energy, went to DNA (National Anticorruption Directorate) headquarters to answer questions in connection with the ‘Hidroelectrica Bribe’ case regarding alleged negotiations of a contract on selling cheap energy worth over EUR 260 million. As he was leaving DNA after being questioned as a witness in the case involving his former counselor Ioan Mihaila, Nita stated he was not involved in the case and he is not in the habit of discussing such matters with his counselors. Prior to this statement, legal sources claimed Nita had been questioned as a witness in the case involving the arrest of Ioan Mihaila and Eugen Bradean, former trading manager at Hidroelectrica.
Remus Vulpescu, the person who filed the notification, also came to DNA and stated before going in that there is a criminal case in his name, compiled by DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism) following his decision that the company should declare insolvency. “One case I know of, cropped up in my name, concerns allegations of undermining the national economy, because as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Hidroelectrica, I decided to commence insolvency procedures at this company, which as you have seen, was well managed. Due to the procedure, the restructuring had quicker and extraordinarily good results for the company, proving that when the state wants to solve its problems, the state can,” Vulpescu said. To his knowledge, he added, he was not a defendant in the case. When asked if he made “a deal” with Anticorruption investigators to make the undermining case disappear, Vulpescu replied he does not wish to comment “those images taken out of American movies.” Furthermore, when asked if Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Deputy Prime Minister Daniel Chitoiu were aware he was planning on making a notification to DNA, Vulpescu said, in his opinion, “Mr. Chitoiu and Mr. Ponta are the main enemies of corruption in Romania and it’s less relevant whether or not they were aware of it.”
Virgil Magureanu, former chief of SRI (the Romanian Intelligence Service), and Virgil Ardelean, son of the former chief of DGIPI (the General Directorate for Intelligence and Internal Security) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, were also questioned Wednesday in connection with the case. According to legal sources, Magureanu is presumably the person who recommended Ioan Mihaila, who was arrested, to Nita. The same sources say Alin Ardelean collaborated with businessman Rares Criste, manager of the company for which the purchase of cheap energy from Hidroelectrica was allegedly negotiated, according to Anticorruption prosecutors. Rares Criste, manager of Energon Power & Gas in Cluj, was questioned Monday at DNA headquarters.
The Bucharest Court of Law, upon proposal by Anticorruption prosecutors, decided on October 24 to remand Eugen Bradean, trading manager at Hidroelectrica, and Ioan Mihaila, former member of the company’s Supervisory Board and former counselor to Minister Constantin Nita, in custody in connection with the file regarding the sale of energy. The decision was challenged in the Bucharest Court of Appeal, where it was ultimately decided to preserve the remand in custody. Ioan Mihaila is charged with offering bribe and Eugen Bradean is charged with conspiracy to taking and offering bribe.

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