Horia Georgescu, President of the National Integrity Agency (ANI), was taken into custody on Monday by the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for 24 hours in a corruption case concerning his activity at the National Authority for the Restitution of Properties (ANRP). He has been charged with with three accusations of office abuse with very serious consequences, if the public employee has gotten an undue advantage for himself or for another, facts committed as a member of the Central Commission for Compensation (CCSD) with the National Authority for Property Restitution (ANRP), the damage in this case being worth 75 million euro.
After being interviewed by the anti-corruption prosecutors over 6 hours, he was taken into a police van handcuffed and transferred to the detention facility of the Bucharest Police.
Prosecutors now have 24 hours to take Georgescu before a court that has to decide whether to place him under arrest pending trial for up to 30 days.
According to a release by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), he will be presented on Tuesday to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) with a 30-day preventive arrest proposal.
DNA specifies that in January 2015, Romania’s Government – the National Authority for Property Restitution have notified the DNA regarding the fact that, during 2008 – 2009, the assessment reports of the properties which compensations were paid for, in accordance with Law no. 247/ 2005 have not observed the demands of the International Assessment Standards (IAS) as regards the estimation of the properties’ market value.
‘Concretely, in the said period the Central Commission for Compensations (CCSD) with the ANRP, which the defendant Georgescu Horia was part of, endorsed the assessment reports tailored by the assessor experts, corresponding to 3 files by non-observing the International Assessment Standards (IAS), the provisions of the Law no. 247/ 2005 regarding the reform in the fields of property and justice, as well as some adjacent measures, where properties for which compensations were asked, had been over-valued. The total amount the properties under process of being compensated for, was raised, according to the assessment experts, to 129,709,168 euro, (467,448,907 lei),’ says the DNA.
Prosecutors have found that out of the assessment reports’ analysis, in the case of the three files resulted that the designated assessors have had no correspondence with the banks, the notaries public, the land registry offices, the real estate agencies etc., as regards the transactions already done / certain with similar real estate properties.
‘As a conclusion, the CCSD issued in the case of these three files titles of compensation based on assessment reports which didn’t observe the IAS regarding the estimation of the market value of the said properties, neither the provisions of art. 10 paragraphs 6 and 7 of Law no. 247/ 2005, regarding the reform in the fields of property and justice, as well as some adjacent measures, by over-valuing the respective properties with a total amount worth 75,000,000 euro, this sum of money being the damage to the state budget concomitantly with obtaining some undue compensations by the holders and the assignees of the compensation rights,’ the prosecutors add.
In the case, criminal prosecution acts are performed to other people, too.
Georgescu: I don’t know anybody, I have not taken any money
‘I have been charged with abuse of office. I don’t know anybody, I have not taken any money, I didn’t know anybody, said the head of ANI. ‘Just because I was a member, I am being charged with abuse of office’, H. Georgescu said before he was put in the police van. Lawyer Cristian Ene said afterwards that his client was a defendant in the case and that he had been charged with three different abuse of office offences.
‘And the damages, in our point of view, fluctuate and are not the actual ones. Mr. Horia Georgescu pleads innocent. He will demonstrate that his detention and preventive arrest measures are completely disproportionate to his purpose and non-involvement’, Cristian Ene also said.
Horia Georgescu, the head of the National Integrity Agency, and PNL MP Theodor Nicolescu were questioned by DNA on Monday in a case regarding the period when they held offices at ANRP, from 2009 to 2011.
Ingrid Zaarour, former ANRP President, was also questioned by the anti-corruption prosecutors at DNA and so were ex-Minister of Communications Gabriel Sandu.
The ANI head was taken with a warrant to the national DNA headquarters at approximately 8:30. Upon his arrival, Georgescu said he didn’t know in which process capacity he had been summoned.
Horia Georgescu was Secretary General at ANRP from 2008 to 2012 and then became President of the National Integrity Agency.
He was a member of the Commission establishing the damages to be paid in ANRP. Alina Bica was also a member of that commission. In 2010, UDMRMP Marko Attila was a so a member of the commission. For him, DNA has requested the Chamber of Deputies to approve arrest pending trial, and the Chamber granted the request in December last year. However, the warrant cannot be executed as Marko Attila is not in the country.
ANI is the authority responsible for checking the compatibility and declarations of assets of Romanian public officials.
Other ANRP heads investigated by DNA prosecutors
Prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) took into custody on Monday Ingrid Popa Mocanu, a former vice president of the Central Committee for Damage Settlement (CCSD), one of the suspects in a criminal investigation on the National Agency for Property Restoration (ANRP). She is accused of three counts of office abuse perpetrated between June 26 2008 and March 6 2009, while she was in office.
Ingrid Zaarour, a former president of the CCSD, has been placed under judiciary control in the same case, judiciary sources disclosed to Agerpres. Charges against her allegedly include three counts of office abuse during her October 1 2007 – February 4 2009 term in office.
‘I did nothing [wrong], these are evaluators’ acts. I did not cause any prejudice in this case,’ Popa Mocanu told reporters upon being escorted from the DNA to the arrest facility of the Bucharest Police, where she will wait for a court ruling on the prosecutors’ request to arrest her pending trial.
The aforementioned sources say the lesser preventive measure against Zaarour is owed to some health problems she documented.