Former PNL President Crin Antonescu, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu and current PSD President and Premier Victor Ponta are mentioned in the case that concerns Iulian Hertanu (photo) , Victor Ponta’s brother-in-law. The transcripts of the phone talks intercepted and included in the case handled by anticorruption prosecutors show that they were allegedly informed and they had discussed about the contracts awarded in Prahova County.
On Wednesday, DNA Ploiesti prosecutors detained Adrian Semcu, CEO of SC Hidro Prahova and former Deputy Chairman of the Prahova County Council in 2008-2012. Semcu is accused of influence peddling in the case in which Iulian Hertanu, MPs Sebastian Ghita and Vlad Cosma, and Prahova County Council Chairman Mircea Cosma are indicted.
Businessman Gheorghe Boeru, representative of SC Romair Consulting SRL, a company that had business ties with SC Hidro Prahova SA, has also been detained in the same case, being charged with active bribery, buying influence and tax evasion. According to Mediafax, the prosecutors’ documents show that starting in 2010, prior to and during the procedures related to the procurement of services as part of the project on the rehabilitation and modernization of water and sewerage systems in Prahova County, a project financed from European funds, several influential persons that enjoyed significant political backing engaged in talks and agreements in order to illicitly obtain sums of money from the payments made to SC Hidro Prahova SA, the beneficiary of the project.
Investigators claim that the money were to be received in the form of commissions from certain companies that each of the persons involved was about to back in the tenders for the awarding of contracts. The backing was about to take place through the exercise of their influence over the leadership and employees of SC Hidro Prahova SA and over Environment Ministry representatives with prerogatives in the implementation of the project.
The prosecutors’ documents reveal the transcripts of several phone taps that took place in 2010 and 2011. In one of the phone conversations, dated 21 January 2011, Adrian Semcu and Nicoleta Catalina Bozianu mention former PNL President Crin Antonescu and PSD President Victor Ponta when talking about the signing of the “Technical assistance for project management, design and work supervision” contract included in the project financed from European funds. The talks reveal that Antonescu was aware of Sebastian Ghita’s “ins and outs,” and the latter allegedly talked to Victor Ponta.
Likewise, prosecutors also state that “Boeru Gheorghe is the special envoy of Calin Popescu Tariceanu, the latter being Adrian Semcu’s good friend. In his turn, Adrian Semcu stated that Boeru Gheorghe has the necessary backing and has to handle the management of the project financed with European funds that concerns the construction of the sewerage network in Prahova County.”
The contract, worth RON 25,085,000, is part of the “rehabilitation and modernization of water and sewerage systems in Prahova County” European project (with Hidro Prahova as its contracting authority). For the support offered in winning the contract, in January 2012 Semcu received from Boeru EUR 100,000 (from the total sum of EUR 200,000 promised), the National Anticorruption Directorate adds.
Apart from Iulian Hertanu, MPs Sebastian Ghita and Vlad Cosma, as well as the latter’s father, Mircea Cosma, the suspended Chairman of the Prahova County Council, have been indicted.
Crin Antonescu: “My sole discussion with Ponta and Semcu had to do with the distribution of candidacies”
Former PNL President Crin Antonescu stated on Thursday that he is not involved in any way in this case and the talks he had with Victor Ponta were political talks that concerned strictly choosing USL’s local election candidates.
“I have nothing to do with the subject of the investigations. The excerpt invoked from Mr. Semcu’s conversation may refer to a discussion that indeed took place between us and in which I informed him about the stage of negotiations for local candidacies within USL,” Crin Antonescu stated for Mediafax.
“My only discussion with Mr. Ponta and Mr. Semcu, who, I repeat, was still president of the party branch, had to do with distributing candidacies for the local elections. Mr. Semcu was president of the Prahova branch, we were negotiating in Bucharest the joint-list candidacies in local elections, and the talk he refers to very likely has to do with the fact that I informed him about the negotiations with Mr. Ponta in what concerned the candidacies in Prahova, who was to run for the office of County Council chairman, who was to run for the mayoralty of Ploiesti,” Antonescu added.
The former PNL President pointed out that subsequently, after the negotiations within USL, PNL no longer had a candidate in Prahova and shortly after the conversation intercepted by prosecutors took place Adrian Semcu was replaced at the helm of the Prahova branch.