The Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) yesterday forwarded to the prosecutor general the request to obtain the permission of the Senate to begin criminal investigations against Varujan Vosganian (photo L) , former Minister of Economy, for setting up an organised criminal group, abuse of power and complicity to embezzlement, in the Romgaz case.
At the same time, the prosecutors are asking for a new permission from the president to place Adrian Videanu, former Economy Minister, under investigation for similar offences. The prosecutors have also asked for the removal of immunity for Vosganian, but the Senate opposed. On the other hand, ex-President Traian Basescu at the time permitted the investigation of Adriean Videanu.
Asked by the press to comment, Varujan Vosganian said: ‘I need to see what the report says regarding this request’. The DIICOT prosecutors say there is a reasonable suspicion that, from December 2006 to December 2008, Varujan Vosganian, and, from December 2008 to September 2010, Adrian Videanu, as ministers, approved, signed and supported in the Government a total of six Orders and three Memoranda, respectively, in support of the financial interests of the criminal group set up by the suspect Ioan Niculae, according to Mediafax. In addition, ‘they used SNGN Romgaz SA (national company of strategic interest) for the private interest of SC Interagro SA, offering substantial commercial discounts for the delivery of natural gas to SC Interagro SA, above the thresholds used by SNGN Romgaz SA, as well as natural gas exclusively from local production, against the law and while Interagro SA had historic debts on gas already used’, the DIICOT release further says.
The prosecutors claim the action of the two ministers took place while the Interagro company had a debt representing approximately 70% of the annual budget of the national gas company.
By that, the main operations of SNGN Romgaz SA wee ‘severely affected’ and the company was practically turned into a ‘supplier for a privileged private client’, endangering the national energy system in the segment of natural gas.
The prosecutors suspect that, because of the two ministers, Interagro ‘was put in a genuine position of monopoly on the natural gas market’ and, at the same time, ‘created notable risks in the area of energy security for Romania’.
On the other hand, the report further notes that the value of the commercial discounts illegally granted was approximately USD 92,000,000 USD.
‘The value of the commercial interruptible discounts offered to SC Interagro SA for natural gas purchases from the domestic production of SNGN Romgaz SA represents approximately 51% of the total of approximately RON 500,000,000 representing commercial discounts offered to eligible consumers with the status of interruptible consumers from February 2008 to December 2010’, the DIICOT prosecutors also say.