Former Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea was brought on Monday to the DNA headquarters, under the circumstances that the Anti-Corruption prosecutors once again demanded her arrest in the Gala Bute file for new bribe-taking accusations. Udrea was brought to a hearing from the Bucharest Police Arrest Department, where she was kept since February 11, investigated in the Microsoft file.
The ICCJ judge approved on February 11 the request to replace the legal control, imposed previously by DNA prosecutors on Udrea in the Microsoft file with the measure of preventive arrest and the DNA request to preventively arrest Elena Udrea for bribe-taking charges from Dinu Pescariu, an accusation made by prosecutors after the legal control was imposed.
On Monday, DNA requested an approval to start legal pursuit and preventive arrest of Elena Udrea for three new bribe-taking crimes, a press release issued by the Prosecutors’ Office announces. The crimes are mentioned in contracts the Ministry of Development had signed with three companies.
Laura Codruta Kovesi, Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) , issued the General Prosecutor of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) the presentation of the case, for the notification of:
- The Chamber of Deputies, to issue the request to start legal pursuit on Deputy Udrea Elena Gabriella, on three accounts of bribe-taking, while she was a Regional Development and Tourism Minister;
- The Justice Minister, to demand the President of the Chamber of Deputies to approve the preventive arrest of Deputy Udrea Elena Gabriela, for having committed the crimes mentioned above, the quoted presentation shows.
The document also points out that, after the accusations that led to Elena Udrea’s arrest, suspicions appeared on new crimes committed by the defendant, not known at the time the Chamber of Deputies was initially notified:
“The present request is formulated in a case of legal pursuit relegated to the supposedly illegal attribution and use of funds in the patrimony of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, during 2010 – 2012. We mention that, in the respective cause, the Chamber of Deputies approved the criminal pursuit and preventive arrest for abuse of office crimes; an attempt to use documents or false statements, inexact or incomplete, in order to unruly gain funds from the budget of the European Union, the use of influence in order to attain undeserved benefits; bribe-taking.
Afterwards, new elements appeared, leading to the suspicion that other deeds were committed, not known at the time the Chamber of Deputies was notified. Some of these deeds are included in the content of the bribe-taking accusation the approval of the Chamber of Deputies was granted for and complete the objective side of this accusation, and the remaining deeds reunite the constitutive elements of two other bribe-taking crimes”, the presentation issued by the Prosecutors’ Office shows.
Here are the three new bribe-taking accusations:
a) Bribe-taking connected to financial support granted by the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism for the contracts signed by Termogaz Company S.A. with UAT Cavnic and UAT Borsec
In the year 2010, Udrea Elena Gabriela indirectly received, for herself and for others, material benefits from the representatives of S.C. Termogaz Company S.A., to approve financing in due time for contracts of works signed by this company with several administrative territorial units, in the program “Ski for Romania”. During August 24, 2010 – December 20, 2010, S.C. Termogaz Company S.A. transferred the sum of RON 695,367.06 in the patrimony of defendant Lungu Stefan, the Minister’s personal advisor, by means of several fictitious purchase contracts, by which a company controlled by an intermediary was interposed in the relations of Termogaz Company and its usual suppliers. The mentioned sum represents 10 pc of the value of payments made by the Ministry to UAT Cavnic and UAT Borsec from the value of the works performed by Termogaz Company S.A.
b) Bribe-taking related to the payments made by the National Investments Company to S.C. Consmin S.A.
During 2010 – 2011, Udrea Elena Gabriela, along with Topoliceanu Ana-Maria, manager of the National Investment Company (a suspect in the present case), received a sum of approximately RON 300,000 from the manager of S.C. Consmin S.A., in order to ensure payment in due time of the works completed by the mentioned company, based on the contracts signed with the National Investment Company.
c) Bribe-taking related to financing provided by the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism for contracts signed by Termogaz Company S.A. And S.C. Kranz Eurocenter S.R.L. with UAT Lupeni and UAT Petrosani.
Throughout the year 2011, Udrea Elena Gabriela demanded and received from defendant Gardean Adrian, for herself and for other, undeserved benefits of 10 per cent of the payments made by the Ministry for contracts signed by S.C. Termogaz Company S.A. and S.C. Kranz Eurocenter S.R.L., in return for the guarantee that payments would be approved in due time. Thus, on February 7, 2011, Udrea Elena Gabriela demanded Gardean Adrian to make several “sponsorships” from the sums received from behalf of the Ministry, mentioning that he needed to discuss details with Nastasia Gheorghe, Secretary General of the Ministry. Afterwards, Udrea Elena Gabriela demanded Nastasia Gheorghe to let Gardean Adrian know that the demanded sum totalizes 10 per cent of the value of payments due to be made in 2011.
First plenary meeting where Udrea’s preventive arrest could be voted on will be next week, on Tuesday
Following the request of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) for the prosecution and arrest of Elena Udrea on three new charges of bribery in the Gala Bute case, the Prosecutor General of Romania, Tiberiu Nitu, has sent to the Chamber of Deputies the request made by the anti-corruption prosecutors.
In keeping with the legal provisions, the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice has asked the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies to begin procedures for making the request to prosecute Udrea Elena Gabriela, former Minister of Regional Development and Tourism and current member of the Chamber of Deputies, for the commission of three criminal offences of bribe-taking during the period when she was the Minister of Regional Development and Tourism.
At the same time, the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice has sent to the minister of Justice the request accompanied by the case report, based on which he was supposed to ask the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies to approve the preventive arrest of MP Udrea Elena Gabriela, for the commission of three criminal offences of bribe-taking during the period when she was the Minister of Regional Development and Tourism.
The MPs are moving fast and the prosecutors’ request has already been put on the Standing Bureau’s agenda on Monday.
According to the procedure, the Standing Bureau gives the Legal Committee a term of three days to produce the report. In the meantime, Elena Udrea and her lawyers may come and see the file.
After the term of three days, the Standing Bureau calls the Chamber of Deputies in session to vote on the approval of Elena Udrea’s arrest.
The first plenary meeting where Udrea’s preventive arrest could be voted on will be next week, on Tuesday.
Elena Udrea’s lawyer: I don’t know if there has ever been such a wanted MP
Elena Udrea’s lawyer, Marius Striblea, says he is unaware of any other MP for whom DNA has asked for so many arrest warrants. His reaction follows the communication of three new bribery charges to his client, whose preventive arrest has been asked for again.
‘I don’t know if there has ever been such a wanted MP. The charges were brought to her knowledge. I don’t know if the procedure is that she must be present in Parliament or she can refuse to go. (…) We will develop our defence, also in Parliament’, E. Udrea’s lawyer said. He pointed out that the priority was the preparation of the appeal against the preventive arrest decision which would be heard on Tuesday.
The lawyer stressed that ‘not everything the prosecutors claim is to be taken for granted’ and that ‘it may look suspicious that only she has been arrested’.
He also confirmed that Elena Udrea had asked for the renovation of the cell where eh will stay during her remand measure.