Gheorghe Stefan, known as “Pinalti” was released from preventive arrest on Wednesday evening. In the last few days, the magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) decided to place him in house arrest, yet the prosecutors appealed the decision.
The ex-Mayor of Piatra Neamt declared on Wednesday evening, while leaving Bucharest Arrest Department, that he had made many mistakes and that both the Mayoralty and football brought him behind bars. Moreover, he admitted that he had made a series of mistakes he had paid for and declared that he intended to quit politics.
“Justice was fair to me. I have nothing to object against them. But I think that there is a divine justice and that all of them will pay according to their deeds and their soul. I hate no one and I think everybody in Romania has realised that each of us who had made a mistake must pay. I was wrong and I will pay, I hope it will not happen again and I hope that other people will not make mistakes. I was very wrong to confide in people and my trust was used, even exploited by some people. This is what I did wrong. (…) My state of health is precarious, and the most painful thing is that my incipient chronic lymphatic leukemia had reappeared. In all bad things, you gave to see something good, too. I will never do any politics in my life; I have quit as a Mayor. Life as a Mayor is the toughest”, Gheorghe Stefan declared.
Asked whether he had anything to object against ex-Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, he replied: “I have nothing to object against anyone, for sure!”
“In the file (Microsoft File, editor’s note), I cannot say anything. Today, I saw that some TV stations were circulating the idea that I had made denunciations of highly important persons in Romania, which is false. I have only said one thing, that was confirmed by a highly positioned politician: that there were two campaign headquarters in 2009, at the presidential elections. We have a proverb, that says: “What does not kill you, toughens you.” But I can say for sure that the Lords’ Basement softens you, you cannot come out of there tough”, Gheorghe Stefan admitted.
Asked whether he has anything to accuse himself of, he replied: “My mistake was running for Piatra Neamt Mayoralty, entering politics and joining a system that had sent me to jail. I think that this was my mistake. As long as I did not do politics, I had no problem and no lawsuit. Football and the Mayoralty brought me to Rahova. I quit both. They are both stressing and take up too much of my time.”
“The Mayoralty of Piatra Neamt made me enter politics. I have run for Mayor from behalf of PNL, I joined the political system, and it is natural, If you make mistakes, to end up here. I think that all politicians, or at least most of them, to say it politely, have made or might make the mistakes I have made, yet, perhaps, at another level. Some of them will have chances, as well. I had none”, Gheorghe Stefan concluded.
During his house arrest, Gheorghe Stefan is prohibited to leave the building he lives in without the approval of the legal institution that ordered the measure or that examines the case.
In the Microsoft file, businessmen Dorin Cocos and Nicolae Dumitru, as well as the suspended Mayor of Piatra Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan, are accused of influence peddling and money laundering, while Gabriel Sandu, Telecommunication and Information Society Minister during December 2008 – September 2010, is accused of bribe taking and money laundering.
Eight other former Ministers are involved in this file: Senators Serban Mihailescu and Ecaterina Andronescu, Deputy Valerian Vreme, MEP Dan Nica, Daniel Funeriu, Alexandru Athanasiu, Mihai Tanasescu and Adriana Ticau.