Elena Udrea was placed under 30-day preventive arrest on Wednesday night, after the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors demanded the magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) the preventive arrest of the former Regional Development and Tourism Minister in the Microsoft file. Elena Udrea is charged with several accounts of influence peddling and one account of money laundering.
Elena Udrea arrived at the High Court after 1.30 pm and, at the time she got off from the car that brought her from police arrest, she was wearing handcuffs. Nonetheless, she repeated her gesture with her hand on her nose that has stirred massive controversy after her speech in the Chamber of Deputies plenum held on Monday evening.
Elena Udrea took to Facebook after being arrested for 30 days. “You cannot handcuff the truth! This is the thing I rely on these days. So, I will try, here on Facebook, to communicate with you and to tell you the truth as I know it.
In order not to risk any debate, I must mention that I have no access to a telephone or to the Internet, so the messages you will see will be transmitted with the help of my lawyer.
After this evening’s decision by ICCJ, I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news is that they ordered my preventive arrest for 30 days. I am hopeful though that, after the appeal, this measure will be suspended. Probably on Monday.
The good news is that the judge invalidated two more lawsuit accounts of the prosecutors who demanded that I be arrested in the Microsoft file: an accusation of influence peddling and my last charge of money laundering. So, concretely, the money laundering accusations stopped.
I thank you very much for your messages of support and for your trust. They mean a lot to me at this time”, Elena Udrea wrote on Facebook.
Elena Udrea’s lawyer: We made an appeal against the preventive arrest verdict
Elena Udrea’s lawyer Marius Striblea declared that they had already submitted an appeal against the 30-day preventive arrest warrant. Striblea also mentioned that the warrant was imposed for two accounts:
“The arrest warrant is for 30 days, starting today, but it is based on two accounts. We have already filed an appeal and we are waiting for the solution. We are overjoyed by the fact that no judge considered it was money laundering. On the charges related to Microsoft, legal control was replaced by preventive arrest and, also, preventive arrest was the verdict on Dinu Pescariu’s denunciation. Yet, people who file denunciations against Ms. Udrea are roaming free. I cannot tell you names, but you all know them. Moreover, many persons in the Microsoft file are not even questioned”, Marius Striblea declared.
Udrea betrayed by her friend, Ana Maria Topoliceanu, former Head of the National Investments Company
Ana Maria Topoliceanu, the former manager of the National Investments Company, was the one who allegedly handed over the bribe received by intermediaries from a company manager to Elena Udrea.
Ana Maria Topoliceanu declared under oath that she had acted as an intermediary for the bribe received by the former Tourism Minister and the information is included in the documents regarding the arrest request for businessman Tudor Breazu. She allegedly handed over the money at the home of the former Regional Development and Tourism Minister or at her office at the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism. The DNA prosecutors showed, in the Gala Bute file, that the sums received from the manager of the company SC Consmin SA, Dragos Marius Botoroaga, finally arrived to Elena Udrea. Ana Maria Topoliceanu is presently prosecuted for bribe-taking.
The sums received in cash or withdrawn from Tudor Breazu’s bank account were handed over to Ana Maria Topoliceanu, and she forwarded them to Elena Udrea, “either at her home in Bucharest, or at her office at the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism”.
Considering the friendship between the two women and the fact that several arrangements were taking place at that time, the money was not forwarded immediately after payments were made by Lungu Stefan and they were not forwarded on the occasion of each payment. Topoliceanu Ana Maria was keeping a record of the payments from Lungu Stefan, communicated by Breazu Tudor and also of the expenses made from these sums, and she handed over the final sums resulted after these transactions to the Minister, on two or three occasions”, the prosecutors wrote in the justifying documents for the preventive arrest request against Tudor Breazu, Mediafax reported.
During 2010 – 2011, Tudor Breazu allegedly helped Elena Udrea and Ana Maria Topoliceanu, who was at that time the manager of the National Investments Company, to receive RON 300,000 from Dragos Marius Botoroaga, the manager of SC Consmin SA. The purpose of the bribe was that the Ministry would assure payment in due time of the works executed by the company, based on the contracts signed with the National Investments Company. After payments were made to Botoroaga’s company, he ordered that 10 per cent of the sums paid be transferred to Stefan Lungu, who was Elena Udrea’s advisor at that time, through a company Lungu controlled – Last Time Studio SRL, based on fictitious counseling contracts. Thus, there were five payments made, totalizing RON 335,486, out of which Lungu allegedly transferred to Tudor Breazu, through the company Ekaton Consulting SRL, based on other fictitious counseling contracts, the sums of RON 209,762, by bank transfers, and RON 90,000 in cash, prosecutors pointed out.
A part of these sums was paid in cash to Ana Maria Topoliceanu, who allegedly handed them over to Elena Udrea, prosecutors added. According to investigators, Breazu also paid several services Elena Udrea had directly benefited of, respectively the accommodation for a trip at the Danai Beach Resort hotel in Greece, during September 2 – 5, 2011, and the costs of Elena Udrea’s birthday party, on December 26, 2012, at the Orizont Hotel in Predeal, worth RON 12,999.
Another part of the received sums was used to pay for trips Breazu had made with Topoliceanu: in Florence, during May 19 – 22 (RON 9,462 for accommodation and RON 4,468 for the plane flights), in Mykonos, Greece, during July 6 – 11, 2011 (RON 16,530 for accommodation and RON 9,354 for the plane flights) and in Paris, during September 30 – October 4 (RON 5,406 for the plane flights). Breazu also paid for Topoliceanu’s trips to Frankfurt, during November 30 – December 2, 2011 (RON 2,283 for accommodation) or for the trips of her family members to Vienna, during August 24 – 28, 2011 (RON 4,530 for accommodation and RON 5,800 for the plane flights) and October 24 – November 1 (RON 8,876 for accommodation and RON 5,652 for plane flights), prosecutors declared.
Ana Maria Topoliceanu’s testimony pointed out that the sums received from SC Consmin SA ended up in Elena Udrea’s possession.
Udrea denies Topoliceanu’s disclosures at DNA, says they are fabrications destined to harm her
Elena Udrea declared that the disclosures made by her friend Ana Maria Topoliceanu for DNA are not true, and that they are “fabrications” launched to the media, in order to harm her.
“I was informed that the press was filled with articles stating that anything I have ever done (from birthday parties to holiday trips and the shoes I have bought) was based on money from bribes received at the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism. To make a long story short, even the air I was breathing was a result of corruption. Obviously, all of these allegations distributed to the public opinion are false. I never demanded anything from anyone – especially not from people whom I once considered friends. I never received as much as a dime from anyone, at home, in my car, in my office at the Ministry or at the party headquarters. These are fabrications launched publicly so that I would be labeled as guilty”, Elena Udrea declared on her Facebook page.
“It is not a surprise that these so-called ‘spicy details’ (although false) were delivered to the press after my arrest came into effect, when it is more difficult to me to say publicly that none of these accusations is true. I must also draw the attention of people who are constantly complaining about Justice made on TV and accuse me of having spoken too much, and yet, find it OK and acceptable if I am condemned on TV, based on prosecutors’ speculations and statements, backed up by no evidence.
Wikileaks: How Elena Udrea was described in stenographs
Elena Udrea was described in Wikileaks stenographs as a “saucy person”. Moreover, American diplomats were talking in their telegrams to Washington about a possible relationship the ex-Minister of Tourism allegedly had with the President at that time, Traian Basescu.
In March 2011, the media was shaken by the resurfacing of some Wikileaks telegrams, containing the secret mail of American diplomats. Among the Romanian officials mentioned in these telegrams, there was Elena Udrea, too, described at that time by American diplomats as “a saucy person”.
Moreover, the American diplomats also discussed speculations regarding an eventual personal relationship between Elena Udrea and Traian Basescu: “Minister Elena Udrea and former Minister Monica Iacob Ridzi share a reputation of having been President Traian Basescu’s former lovers.”.
After the telegrams were published, Elena Udrea immediately responded on her Facebook page. “I think that diplomats accredited to Bucharest are focusing on serious things, not on collecting and forwarding gossip at the level of suburb neighbours from various ridiculous characters”, Elena Udrea had replied at that time.