The Senate plenum debated on Wednesday the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism’s (DIICOT) request to approve the start of the criminal prosecution against former economy ministers and current Senators Varujan Vosganian and Ion Ariton, who are suspects in two different cases. However, the plenum will vote on the request only on Thursday, after it accepted Vosganian’s request to be allowed to present his point of view during that meeting. During Wednesday’s meeting Varujan Vosganian asked the members of the Senate’s Juridical Commission to vote on the prosecutors’ request while holding their hands on the Bible, and the debates quickly escalated from there. Varujan Vosganian claimed that the prosecutors did not bring any new evidence compared to those brought in 2013 back when the MPs rejected their request to approve the start of the criminal prosecution in the Romgaz case. “After 25 years I won’t allow anyone to make a mockery out of me within the Romanian Senate’s plenum. I ask the members of the Senate’s Juridical Commission to swear tomorrow, before the final vote, with their hands on the Bible and the Constitution, that they told me that there is new evidence. I don’t want to be an extra in a media show written by I do not know whom,” Varujan Vosganian stated.
Former Economy Minister Varujan Vosganian is accused of forming an organized crime group, malfeasance in office and being an accessory to embezzlement in the Romgaz case.
In Ion Ariton’s case the tone of the debates abated. He told his colleagues that he does not want to resort to delays and asked them to approve the anticorruption prosecutors’ request. Ion Ariton is investigated in the Bute Boxing Gala case and is accused of improper involvement in malfeasance in office and the use of influence in order to obtain undue benefits.
Exchange of lines with Ilie Sarbu
Varujan Vosganian had an exchange of lines with ex-Agriculture Minister Ilie Sarbu in Senate yesterday on the DIICOT ‘cheap gas’ case where the prosecutors are asking to be allowed to begin criminal investigation. The two former ministers contradicted each other on the subject of the approval and adoption of the emergency ordinance based on which Interagro benefited from cheap gas from Romgaz for the production of chemical fertilizers. Vosganian told Ilie Sarbu that he had communicated in a letter to the Ministry of Economy that he supported the reduction of the gas price for fertilizer producers. ‘At the Ministry of Economy there is a letter of yours where you were asking for support for the production of chemical fertilizers. If you want, I can make it available to you for you to see that, one way or another, you were also a part of this huge conspiracy of supporting 9,000 people based in mono-industrial areas. You have time until tomorrow to think about this one more time and please free yourself from fear. People like us whose hair has turned grey in politics should set an example as courageous people’ Varujan Vosganian told to Ilie Sarbu.