Released from arrest in the Microsoft case on Tuesday and currently under house arrest, Elena Udrea received another piece of bad news on Wednesday. The requests made by the National Anti-corruption Directorate prosecutors – one for prosecution and one for preventive arrest, this time in the Gala Bute case – were accepted by the Legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
The request for preventive arrest was granted with 16 votes in favour, three abstentions and four votes against, plus two annulled votes. The prosecution request was also granted with 23 votes in favour and two against.
The Committee reports are consultative, and a decision will be most likely be made by Parliament next week.
Before the vote, Udrea’s lawyer Marius Striblea, presented to the Legal Committee his client’s position.
Striblea asked them to accept the prosecution request but to decline the arrest request.
‘On the second point, we obviously opposed and explained that, after the experiment conducted last week, it wouldn’t be appropriate to end up back in the same position. The Legal Committee need not to approve preventive remand again, (…) it’s just a way of keeping Elena Udrea in a long row of accusations. I told the MPs that Elena Udrea had had six days of humiliation. It was demonstrated that those six days of remand were useless and illegal’, Striblea told the press.
MP Udrea at DNA to substantiate denunciation against acting SRI head Coldea
MP Elena Udrea on Wednesday showed up at the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to substantiate her denunciation against acting head of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Florian Coldea.
Upon entering the building, Udrea said she will sustain the denunciation.
Last week, DNA reported that prosecutors did not start an in rem criminal investigation following the denunciation by Udrea because the necessary legal conditions were not met.
“In her denunciation, Udrea failed to mention the misdeeds as requested under Article 290 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in relation to Article 289 in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Given the context and in accordance with the criminal procedure rules, Mrs Udrea was summoned to substantiate on February 6 her denunciation filed on February 5, but she failed to show up. The in rem criminal investigation has not been started yet because the conditions under Article 305 in the Code of Criminal Procedure are not met,” DNA told Agerpres on February 12.
In an interview to news website Hotnews on January 30, Udrea said she filed a denunciation of acting SRI head Florian Coldea. ‘A denunciation that reveals things about Mr General Florian Coldea … and also mentions Mrs Prosecutor General of DNA Codruta Kovesi,’ Udrea explained.
She claimed that her ex-husband Dorin Cocos asked her to facilitate a meeting with both former SRI head George Maior and General Florian Coldea to clarify certain aspects in the Microsoft case, and she allegedly did not oblige.
‘When the Microsoft criminal file emerged and the name of my ex-husband was mentioned in relation thereof, I was in full swing of electioneering. (…) My name was obviously connected to the file, and what’s more a loan was alluded to that my husband had taken out from Dinu Pescariu and which I mentioned in my wealth declaration and which is evidence in the file. Given this complex context, my ex-husband came to me and asked me to arrange, to intermediate a meeting with Mr Coldea and Mr Maior, telling me that he does not want to call on them personally in that situation. (…) I asked him why he would do that, why he would talk, and he said he would like to clarify the accusations against him in the file, given that he claimed he did certain things upon the request of Mr Coldea. (…) He told me, for instance, that upon the request of Mr Coldea he brought 500,000 euros cash to Sebastian Ghita for Ghita to fund his television channel RTV,’ Udrea argued back then.
She claimed that the money was remitted to Ghita by Alin Cocos. ‘He also told me that following another request he brought almost 500,000 euros more, I do not remember exactly, to a public opinion pollster,’ Udrea also said.
Back then, DNA acknowledged having received and registered the denunciation and that procedural steps were to follow.
Elena Udrea’s lawyer on new charges against his client: No evidence, simple speculations
Elena Udrea’s lawyer Marius Striblea said on Wednesday that, at the meeting of the Chamber of Deputies Legal Committee which convened to debate the requests of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) to prosecute his client on new counts, he will assert that the cases “strikingly resemble each other” and that they “are not based on evidence.”
“I will say what I also said yesterday, upon leaving from the first session for the examination of the files, that they strikingly resemble with the previous ones, are not based on evidence and are just image tricks, probably hastily put together on the day preceding the trial of the appeal,” said Striblea before entering the meeting of the Law Committee.
He added that he would “every time” seek the prosecutor’s approval to come to Parliament.
“Mrs. Udrea is at this time at the DNA offices, giving statements about the denunciation she filed there, she is accompanied by my lawyer colleague, Mr. Chiciu, and they said they would ask for the prosecutors’ approval for [Elena Udrea] to come to Parliament. The statements are not over yet and this is why she isn’t here yet,” said Striblea, who mentioned that he had been unable to contact his client by then.
Asked if Elena Udrea is allowed to get in contact, when she reaches Parliament, with fellow lawmakers uninvolved in the case, Striblea replied that he sees no impediment to this, “as long as her presence in Parliament is strictly related, in terms of timing and communication, to the reason for her reporting there, namely attending the committee meeting and the plenary sitting.
Striblea also said that it is possible for Elena Udrea to defend herself before Parliament, but that at the same time she must respect the decision of the judges and is therefore not allowed to make direct reference to the criminal case in which she is being investigated.