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February 1, 2023

Senate approves criminal investigation on former minister Andronescu and Serban Mihailescu in Microsoft case

The Senate plenary sitting approved yesterday the opening of a criminal investigation against Senator Ecaterina Andronescu, a former minister of education, and Serban Mihailescu, a former Government Secretariat General (SGG) coordinating minister in a corruption case involving the public purchase of software licenses.
It was a secret vote using balls, the PDL and PNL MPs showing the way they voted.
In Ecaterina Andronescu’s case, out of the total number of 168 senators 135 voted, 72 in favour and 62 against, one vote being annulled. For Serban Mihailesu there were 77 votes for lifting his immunity and 5 against.
Ecaterina Andronescu: ‘I will fight to prove my innocence’
Ecaterina Andronescu tanked the senators for their vote. ‘I will fight to prove my innocence in court, and please do not lose trust in my honesty, It is worthwhile fighting for it, because that’s my one and only wealth’, said the PSD senator.
The Senate granted the request of the ICCJ Prosecutor’s Office for the prosecution of Ecaterina Andronescu for the period when she was a minister and for Serban Mihailescu, ex-minister in charge of coordinating the Secretariat General of the Government.
Serban Mihailescu: ‘I have not had any offshore companies or accounts abroad’
Serban Mihailescu said he had studied his file but was unable to find references to the charges of influence peddling and there was no evidence for money laundering. ‘In the over 6,000 pages there is no report indicating that I put pressure on anyone or suggesting influence peddling. Regarding the money laundering charge, that’s mere speculation, they have no proof. I have never had any offshore companies, I have never had any accounts abroad. This is all that I can tell you on the matter’, Mihailescu said.
National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) head, Laura Codruta Kovesi, on Tuesday has sent the Senate copies of the four volumes comprising the criminal investigation materials gathered in the cases of senators Serban Mihailescu and Ecaterina Andronescu.
The two are investigated by the DNA in the IT licenses case called Microsoft.
DNA prosecutors claim most ministers in the Nastase Government and in the Boc 1, 2 and 3 Governments committed corruption offences in order to conclude or extend overpriced contracts which caused damages to the state budget. The projects within which the corruption offences were allegedly committed – school Microsoft licences and the ‘Computerised Educational System’ Programme. Among them there is also Ecaterina Andronescu. Prosecutors say that, between 2001 and 2009, she demanded and received from SIVECO and collaborating companies benefits consisting of sums of money or computers for herself or for other persons, in order to make it possible for them to engage in projects with the ministry.
Serban Mihailescu, SGG coordinating minister from December 2000 to October 2003, is under investigation for the offences of instigation to abuse of office, influence peddling and money laundering. Mih?ilescu is also accused of having demanded  a bribe of 20 M USD. Prosecutors say he received from Fujitsu Siemens Computers, into the account of offshore companies, money representing consultancy and technical assistance fees in connection with the contract awarded by the Romanian Government.

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