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July 2, 2022

Coup de theatre in ‘Gala Bute’ case – prosecutors no longer want Elena Udrea on house arrest

Ex-Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea got rid of her house arrest. The 30 days of house arrest have expired and on the Tuesday court hearing, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors asked for a probation order for Udrea.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Tuesday decided to replace the measure of house arrest in the case of former minister Elena Udrea, pending trial in the Bute gala case, with the judicial control measure.

The decision is final.

Elena Udrea stated she wants to go to a clinic to undergo a radiograph and medical check-ups, considering that she complains of back pain. “After you spend roughly three months in jail, in those conditions, it’s good to undergo medical check-ups, at least preventively if not for something in particular. Nobody leaves that place without spinal column problems, it’s difficult to stay there. It’s an older problem that has gotten worse,” Elena Udrea stated for Romania TV.

She said that she plans to get more involved in political life. “I am working on some laws. In the campaign I promised a law that refers to children whose parents leave to work abroad, plus the updating of the legislation that concerns the serving of sentences in Romania, in line with what goes on at European level,” Udrea also explained.

The High Court on Tuesday checked the legality of the preventive measure in the case of Elena Udrea and the National Anti-corruption (DNA) prosecutor agreed to replacing the house arrest measure with the judicial control measure, pending trial. The reason for this is that there was the risk, after the release in the Official Journal of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) decision on the unconstitutionality of the house arrest period, for Elena Udrea to remain under no preventive measure.

Elena Udrea went to the High Court for the hearing on Tuesday morning and said she would challenge the house arrest measure taken against her in the ‘gala Bute’ case if the magistrates extended it.

‘I have all the arguments to ask for a more lenient measure, at least for the fact that the other co-defendants in my case have received easier measures. If the current situation is preserved, that would show me that the judges already have an opinion, and that would be very serious’, Elena Udrea said when she arrived to the High Court.

But the DNA prosecutors did not ask for an extension of the house arrest in Udrea’s case, Romania TV reports. The quotes source informs a Constitutional Court decision dated 7 May 2015 ruling the section of the Code of Criminal Procedure on house arrest unconstitutional was raised.

Elena Udrea confirmed that the CCR decision on the house arrest had been brought up. ‘Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office’s conclusion was that the house arrest measure should be replaced’, Udrea said at ICJ.

The Court is now to decide if the former minister will be removed from house arrest. ‘I hope the Court decides today if not the revocation, at least the replacement of house arrest’, Udrea said.

The Constitutional Court unanimously admitted the constitutionality exception and found that Section 222 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was unconstitutional. The Court found that, by the law-maker’s omission to regulate in the body of the section the term and maximum length of the preventive measure of house arrest taken in the preliminary chamber procedure and during the hearing before a court of first instance, the constitutional stipulations at Section 23 – Individual Freedom and Section 25  – Free movement, Section 26 – Private, family life, Section 39  – Freedom of meeting, Section 41 – Labour and social protection of labour and Section 53 – Restriction of the exercise of fundamental rights and liberties were violated.

Apart from the house arrest, Udrea is also challenging the indictment in the Gala Bute case and is asking the Court to return the case to DNA for redoing criminal investigation. The High Court rejected the contestation of the former PMP head.

Elena Udrea was brought to trial on 21 April in the ‘Gala Bute’ case, on three charges: bribe-taking, abuse of power and attempted use of false, inaccurate or incomplete documents of declarations for unjustly obtaining European funds.







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