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June 26, 2022

Ex-Minister Elena Udrea released after 72 days in custody

Ex-Minister Elena Udrea has been released from the Targsor Prison and placed on house arrest, as the High Court replaced her preventive arrest with house arrest in the Gala Bute case.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) also removed ex-President of Romanian Boxing Federation Rudel Obreja, and Tudor Breazu from custody and placed them under house arrest.

The Court ordered that Udrea, Obreja and Breazu should be immediately released unless under arrest in a different matter. They will be placed on house arrest at their respective addresses in Bucharest.

Elena Udrea was remanded in custody in the Gala Bute case on 25 February, Rudel Obreja on 5 February and Tudor Breazu on 8 February.

The decision of the Court is final.

While on house arrest, Udrea, Obreja and Breazu are not supposed to leave their homes unless they obtain the permission of the Court, report to the judicial authorities whenever they are called, not to communicate with the co-defendants or witnesses in the Gala Bute case, inform the Police unit that will take them under its supervision , as well as the Court if they need to leave the addresses where they were placed on arrest for a strictly necessary period, for emergencies and for good reasons.


Money laundering and abuse of power charges


On 30 April, Elena Udrea was transferred to the Targsor Prison, Prahova County, from the Central Arrest Facility of the Bucharest Police where she had been incarcerated on 25 February.

The DNA prosecutors referred the Gala Bute case to Court on 21 April. On the first court date, the ICCJ judges sustained the measure of preventive arrest for Udrea, Obreja and Breazu. The decision was challenged and, on Thursday, a different panel of ICCJ judges definitively ruled to place them on house arrest, according to Mediafax.

Ex-Minister Elena Udrea was charged with abuse of power in connection with the organisation of the Gala Bute event by the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, and bribery in connection with the financing or several contracts by the same ministry.

After her case had been referred to Court, the prosecutors added a new charge – money laundering, the former minister being accused of taking various sums as bribe, which she then transferred to PDL Bucharest as fictitious donation deeds, prepared to dissimulate the criminal origin of the funds.

Elena Udrea is also under investigation in the Microsoft case, in which she was under arrest from 11 to 17 February, when the Court placed her on house arrest where she remained until 25 February, when she was remanded in custody in the Gala Bute case.


Lawyer Marius Striblea: ‘Udrea ‘is an optimistic person on her way home’


The lawyer of the former minister, Marius Striblea, said, after learning the news about he release of his client, that Udrea ‘is an optimistic person on her way home’. The lawyer also said that Udrea’s right to defence has been ‘fundamentally impaired’ so far and that ‘justice has now been made in the sense that she has been given the right to defend herself’.

At the same time, Marius Striblea noted that, from that point on, the strategy of the defence would be to act against the way in which criminal investigation had been conducted.

The lawyer also explained why an investigation had been started at the penitentiary where his client had been incarcerated, following the threat letter received by her regarding a possible HIV infecting.

‘The letter says the attack might take place at the Targsor Prison (…). When she was transferred in a rush to that prison, emotions and fears intensified’, M. Striblea said on Antena 3 TV. Udrea’s lawyer also said her right to defence had been restricted during her stay at Targsor.

On Saturday, her friend, Ruxandra Dragomir, said Udrea had received a letter to the Bucharest Police Arrest Facility, where a man incarcerated at Colibasi Prison was warning her that he had received an order from the Camataru clan to prick her with a needle infected with HIV.


Ruxandra Dragomir: ‘After she had been moved to Targsor,  she stopped feeling as well’


Ex-tennis player, Udrea’s best friend Ruxandra Dragomir said, that, as soon as they had heard the news, she and the ex-minister’s mother left for Targsor.

‘I cannot tell you how happy I am. I am on my way to Targsor to pick her up and this is all for now. I felt she was as strong and confident as always, but, after she had been moved to Targsor, of course, when you feel innocent and when you cannot study your file and communicate with your lawyers too much in order to prepare your defence, then she stopped feeling as well, also after receiving that letter she didn’t give too much importance to in a  first phase. However, after being transferred to Targsor, it made her and us think and I am happy that she was released’, Ruxandra Dragomir told stiripesurse.ro.


Tatiana Niculescu Bran: ‘She can wait for the court ruling under house arrest just as well’


President Klaus Iohannis’ ex-spokeswomen Tatiana Niculescu Bran has posted a message on her Facebook page, saying  it is ‘a very good thing’ that Udrea would be placed on house arrest as ‘public humiliation makes her no more and no less guilty than evidence will, so she can wait for the ruling of the court under house arrest just as well’.

‘The High Court of Cassation and Justice has just replaced the custodial arrest with house arrest in Elena Udrea’s case. That’s a very good thing. For a month, every day has started and ended with Elena Udrea on television and with the non-dissimulated satisfaction of anchors that a woman is humiliated in all ways. Public humiliation makes her no less and no more guilty than evidence will, so she can wait for the ruling of the court under house arrest just as well’, she states.


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