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March 30, 2023

File on reopening criminal investigation of ex- President Traian Basescu regarding Romanian journalists kidnapped in 2005 in Iraq, submitted to Supreme Court

Bucharest District 5 Court House on Thursday said ruling on a request from the General Prosecution Service to confirm the reopening of a criminal investigation of Romania’s former President Traian Basescu over the 2005 kidnapping of Romanian journalists in Iraq falls out of its jurisdiction.

The Bucharest District 5 Court House rejected jurisdiction over the case and forwarded the file to the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation.

“It admits the rejection of personal jurisdiction of the Bucharest District 5 Court House declared ex officio by the court. In accordance with Article 50 of the new Code of Criminal Procedure, corroborated with Article 40 and 48 (1) (a) in the new Code of Criminal Procedure, it rejects jurisdiction over the resolution of the request for the reopening of a criminal investigation filed by the Prosecution Office with the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation in court file 1543/P/2009 in favour of the Criminal Section of the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation. Under Article 275 (3) of the new Code of Criminal Procedure, the court fees will be paid by the filler. Final and binding,” reads the court’s decision.

Politician Corneliu Vadim Tudor filed a criminal complaint with the General Prosecution Service accusing Traian Basescu and then national leader of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Vasile Blaga of having embezzled some of the ransom money paid by the Romanian Government for the release of three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq in 2005.

In his complaint, Tudor backed his allegation by excerpts from a book by former prosecutor of the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terror (DIICOT) Ciprian Nastasiu claiming that 4 million euros vanished from the ransom money. According to Nastasiu, the Romanian Government sent to Baghdad, via Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), with the involvement of then Romania’s President Traian Basescu, some 12-13 million euros, of which the kidnappers allegedly received only 9 million, Agerpres informs.

He was also accusing Basescu of having classified the amount of the ransom for 50 years, besides the documents regarding the release negotiations.

“I knew the money had come from a special fund managed by SIE. I saw Major Coldea of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) [currently deputy director of SRI] with my own eyes in Baghdad when the hostages were freed, undertaking a huge responsibility for the denouement of the crisis. We all knew that the President was involved in each and every detail. That is why I could not fathom any crooked officer simply losing 3-4 million euros on the way to the place where the ransom was to be paid. Maybe the task force estimated the costs of the Romanian Government, which had already been going on for almost two months and involved intense additional works, at 3-4 million euros so that the Government reimbursed it from the special fund, or maybe some persons who had access to and took part in the freeing took out the money from the total amount of the ransom and divided it among them,” Nastasiu wrote in his “Pradarea Romaniei” (Robbing Romania) book, released in 2009.


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