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February 3, 2023

Lower Chamber decides: UDMR MP Laszlo Borbely avoids criminal prosecution again

UDMR MP Laszlo Borbely, former Environment Minister, has avoided being criminally prosecuted given the fact that the number of votes needed for the start of his criminal prosecution was not met during the Lower Chamber’s plenum meeting.

The MPs voted on the request filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). The UDMR MP is charged of influence peddling. The vote took place with secret ballots.

On February 24 the Lower Chamber’s Juridical Commission ruled in favour of the start of the criminal prosecution. Laszlo Borbely stated after the Juridical Commission’s meeting that the request to start prosecuting him is an abuse and that he will prove his innocence through legal overtures.

Prosecutors claim that in 2011, Minister Laszlo Borbery received from Ion Ciocan, the administrator of SC Lescaci Com SRL Negresti Oas, undue benefits consisting of the renovation and furnishing of an apartment, services worth approximately RON 81,000, in exchange of using his influence within the “Romanian Waters” National Administration – an institution subordinated to the Environment Ministry – in order to determine civil servants there to favour SC Lescaci Com SRL Negresti Oas in various tenders organized by the “Romanian Waters” through its local branches.

DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi asked the Lower Chamber in early February to green light the criminal prosecution against former minister Laszlo Borbely in an older case. The case was reopened after new elements appeared. Prior to that, the Parliament had rejected the prosecutor’s request to have his immunity lifted.


‘It’s a clear abuse from prosecutors’


In the speech he gave in front of his colleagues before the start of the vote, Laszlo Borbely stated that the prosecutors’ activity is “an abuse.”

“I am a veteran of Parliament, I have been an MP for 21 years,” Borbely started. “In 2012, when my criminal prosecution was proposed, I immediately resigned from the government. That was a political gesture. (…) Based on the analysis of the file, the Lower Chamber deemed that the prerequisites of the start of the criminal prosecution were not met and did not approve the request. In January 2014 I officially received the decision not to start the criminal prosecution. No new elements appeared in this case for a year and a half. In January 2015 I found out from the press that this case is being reopened and the request was analyzed at the High Court in my absence. As a result of my notice, the Ombudsman filed to the Constitutional Court an address through which he deems unconstitutional the provisions that state that the discussion within the High Court’s preliminary chamber takes place in the absence of those concerned by the lawsuit,” Borbely stated. “There is only a self-denunciation alleging that EUR 50,000 was given to an unknown person at a gas station, money that, according to the statement, was supposed to come into my possession in order for me to facilitate some contracts. This self-denunciation was made well over 3 years since the alleged event. It has nothing to do with the 2012 case. The self-denunciation was filed on 29 December 2014, and on January 5 DNA Oradea, without a minimal prior verification of the denunciation, sent to the High Court the ordinance that requests the start of the criminal prosecution. There is no evidence that an elementary preliminary investigation took place in order to have some clues pointing to the intention of committing crimes. It’s a clear abuse from prosecutors,” the UDMR MP stated.


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