Senator Mircea Geoana was yesterday summoned to the Court of Appeal of Bucharest for the next hearing date in the case known by the name of ‘Bribe at PSD’ to testify together with businessman Cristian Burci and Geoana’s brother-in-law Ionut Costea, on 19 February.
Geoana will answer the judge’s questions on the 2009 election campaign when he stood for election as president of Romania, according to Mediafax.
In the case, the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) referred to court on 11 January 2012 PSD Braila leader Gheorghe Bunea Stancu, Interagro Group owner Ioan Niculae, Viorel Barac, manager in the same group, as well as Gheorghe Theodorescu from INSOMAR, on charges regarding the financing of political parties. The District I Court acquitted them on 20 November 2013. The decision was not final and was challenged in the Bucharest Court of Appeal.
According to the prosecutors, in 2009, Gheorghe Bunea Stancu used his influence and authority as President of the Braila County Organisation of the Social Democratic Party to obtain, against the law on the financing of political parties, EUR 1 M from Ioan Niculae, owner of SC Interagro SA, to be spent during the presidential election campaign in support of the PSD candidate, Mircea Geoana, at the end of 2009. The agreement was for the sums to be paid indirectly. Ioan Niculae was supposed to pay various service providers connected to the election campaign, including organisations conducting opinion polls. In that way – anti-corruption prosecutors argue – the actual destination of the payments was being dissimulated, evading the legal requirements on the financing of political parties.
In exchange for the money paid, Ioan Niculae wanted that, should the PSD candidate win, people should be appointed to various leading offices in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business Environment and to the two national companies managing and distributing natural gas (SNTGN Transgaz and SNGN Romgaz SA), that should support his interests, prosecutors state in the indictment paper.
In the course of investigations the prosecutors also determined that, out of the EUR 1 M, RON 641,730 (the equivalent of EUR 150,000) was actually paid, using a front agreement between the companies under Ioan Niculae’s control – Interagro and SC INSOMAR SRL. The agreement was concluded for fictitious services in order to create an apparently legal coverage for the actual destination of the sums paid, which was the financing of a political party against the law, the prosecutors also noted in the indictment submitted in court.
The actual agreement and the relevant paperwork (the reception report, invoices) were concluded between Viorel Barac and Gheorghe Teodorescu via Ioan Niculae, DNA prosecutors note.