Viorel Hrebenciuc was heard by the Court of Appeal in the case of the illegal financing of Mircea Geoana’s election campaign, on Thursday. The former PSD MP told the Court that Geoana knew about the contracts guising the electoral bribery. Viorel Hrebenciuc was brought from prison to the Bucharest Court of Appeal to testify in the case regarding the financing of Mircea Geoana’s presidential campaign in 2009.
Hrebenciuc said in Court that, contrary to his statements, Geoana knew about the source of the money with which his election campaign was being funded, according to hotnews.ro.
Hrebenciuc also said that in charge of the financing of the campaign had been Mircea Geoana and people in his entourage – Ionut Costea and Ion Bazac. ‘In this context, Geoana sent me personally to Niculae to ask him to contribute to his campaign. He didn’t want to talk to Costea. He did meet with Niculae and also asked him on Geoana’s behalf to pay for some INSOMAR opinion polls. Niculae agreed. He talked to Teodorescu. Afterwards, I found out that an agreement on the situation of constructions in Romania had been concluded between Interagro and INSOMAR. The payment was made for Geoana’s opinion polls’, Hrebenciuc said.
He also said that Mircea Geoana was aware of how opinion polls were being paid for.
‘Teodorescu, having the unfortunate experience of previous campaigns when he was not paid after election, in 2009 insisted to be paid up to date. The payments were made after talks with Geoana and Vantu, who was a shareholder in INSOMAR’, Hrebenciuc said.
He added that other companies such as Realphone had signed loan agreements with PSD for the payment of INSOMAR services, as PSD’s accounts had been frozen.
‘I cannot say if Geoana sent me to Niculae for a legal or illegal financing. In principle it was legal. Niculae wanted to pay through the bank. I would talk to other funders only when I was sent to do that’, Viorel Hrebenciuc said.
Asked what he and Niculae had talked about, Viorel Hrebenciuc answered: ‘The sums were set by himself. I asked him to pay the bills for Geoana’s polls. I only learnt about the construction contract at a later date. Geoana was perfectly aware of how opinion polls regarding his candidacy were being paid for. He would consult with SOV on the matter. The value was approximately EUR 100,000.’
Mircea Geoana: ‘This is just Mr. Hrebenciuc’s way to diverting attention away from his own troubles with the law’
Following Hrebenciuc’s testimony, PSRO President Mircea Geoana made a few clarifications. He said that, as PSD’s candidate in the presidential election of 2009, he did not take care of the financing of his election campaign, that Viorel Hrebenciuc was the campaign manager and that he had not talked to any businessman about the financing of his campaign. At the same time, Geoana noted that Hrebenciuc ‘only makes allegations’ without presenting any evidence.
‘On Viorel Hrebenciuc’s testimony in Court today, I would like to bring the following clarifications: 1. The PSD candidate in the 2009 presidential election did not take care of the financing of the election campaign; 2. Mr. Hrebenciuc was the campaign manager in 2009: If Mr. Hrebenciuc did make such requests, they were made on his own initiative and without informing me of any such action; 3. I did not talk to any businessman on the financing of the campaign and I did not send Viorel Hrebenciuc to talk to businessmen regarding the financing of the campaign; 4. It is odd that Mr. Hrebenciuc should choose to make these untrue statements after the public conflict between myself and Victor Ponta had intervened, Mr. Hrebenciuc having supporting Mr. Ponta starting with the PSD Congress of 2010 until present, and also the day after being placed under house arrest; 5. Viorel Hrebenciuc is just bringing allegations without presenting the minimum proof. I have never been engaged in illegal affairs and I will not have anyone reviling my name only for political reasons. This is just Mr. Hrebenciuc’s way to diverting attention away from his own troubles with the law. I fully stand by my testimony in the trial in which Mr. Niculae and Stancu were acquitted by the court of first instance’, Mircea Geoana says.
Cristian Burci testifies in Court
Businessman Cristian Burci also testified in the Bucharest Court of Appeal in the ‘Bribe for PSD’ case yesterday. The ex-President of Braila County Council, Gheorghe Bunea Stancu, and businessman Ioan Niculae are on trial for illegal financing of Mircea Geoana’s election campaign in 2009, in the same case.
The ‘Bribe for PSD’ case is about the intervention of the former President of Braila County Council, Gheorghe Bunea Stancu, with businessman Ioan Niculae, of whom he allegedly asked for EUR 1 M. The money – according to the prosecutors – paid for Mircea Geoana’s presidential campaign.
The National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) referred to trial, on 11 January 2012, PSD Braila Leader Gheorghe Bunea Stancu, Interagro group owner Ioan Niculae, Viorel Barac, director in the same group, and Gheorghe Teodorescu with INSOMAR, al being charged in connection with the financing of political parties.
The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Wednesday decided that former MP Viorel Hrebenciuc would be investigated for alleged illegal forestland returning under house arrest. The decision is not final.