National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors carried out searches at seven locations in Bucharest on Thursday. Judiciary sources say Bucharest District 1 Mayor Andrei Chiliman is allegedly suspected of influence peddling. The mayor was detained by masked policemen at the Henri Coanda Airport in Bucharest, on his return from a trip to Brussels, and taken to the DNA Ploiesti headquarters in order to be heard in a case concerning influence peddling and other acts of corruption.
Asked on his way out of the airport for his opinion on the charges brought against him by DNA prosecutors, Chiliman answered: “I never did such a thing,” Mediafax informs. Asked whether he expects to be detained, Chiliman answered: “Anything is possible.”
According to judiciary sources quoted by Agerpres, the investigation was split off from the case concerning Iulian Hertanu, Premier Ponta’s brother-in-law. Vlad Moisescu, former President of PNL’s District 1 branch, is also involved in this case.
The first DNA press release only mentions “a criminal case on suspicions of crimes assimilated to corruption committed in 2006-2015.” According to this document, the searches took place at one public institution and six homes in Bucharest. The DNA action was supported by the Romanian Intelligence Service and the Special Intervention Brigade of the Gendarmerie.
During the searches, investigators picked up several documents from the district mayoralty’s offices.
It seems that both the mayor and several members of his entourage allegedly obtained various benefits from businessmen in exchange for helping their companies win public work contracts awarded by the District 1 Mayoralty, the aforementioned source informs. The case allegedly concerns a bribe that Gheorghe Boeru, CEO of SC Romair Consulting SRL, currently under house arrest in the Iulian Hertanu case, offered in exchange for winning consultancy contracts awarded by the District 1 Mayoralty.
Several persons were taken in for hearings at DNA Ploiesti, since this DNA branch handles Iulian Hertanu’s case. Mayor Chiliman was among them.
In Iulian Hertanu’s case, DNA prosecutors claim that in 2011-2015, Mihail Coman and Iulian Hertanu, administrator of Grossmann Engineering Group, alongside other suspects, set up an organized crime group in order to fraudulently win a contract financed mostly from European funds. Investigators also claim that Lower Chamber MPs Sebastian Ghita and Vlad Cosma, as well as Mircea Cosma, the suspended Chairman of the Prahova County Council, allegedly backed this crime group.
Referring to Chiliman’s situation, PNL First Vice President Ludovic Orban stated that the provisions of the new party statute will be applied if it turns out there are integrity problems, stiripesurse.ro informs.
“Unlike PSD which says it will introduce statutory stipulations concerning integrity, PNL has such criteria and will enforce them irrespective of the case and of the name of the PNL member who finds himself in such a situation. But let’s not rush until we know what is going on,” Orban stated.
PM Ponta’s brother-in-law placed on probation
The brother-in-law of Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, Iulian Hertanu, came to DNA Ploiesti Wednesday morning. He is under criminal investigation in a case dealt with by the structure for several offences, including embezzlement of European funds.
Agerpres quotes judicial sources as saying that Hertanu came to DNA to be informed about the enforcement of the probation order by the case prosecutor.
Hertanu was arrested in February and then placed on house arrest. The investigators decided not to extend the house arrest any further and continue their investigations with the suspect on probation.
DNA Ploiesti was also visited by the manager of SD Grossman, Ilie Dragan, also investigated into on house arrest. In his case, too, the prosecutors will introduce a probation order, sources close to the investigation have said.
Iulian Hertanu, a partner in SC Grossman Engineering Group SRL, was charged with setting up an organised criminal group, illegal change of the destination of European funds and tax evasion. The same charges were brought against the businessmen Mihai Marian Coman and Vladimir Razvan Ciorba.
Mircea Cosma, President of Prahova County Council, and MPs Vlad Cosma and Sebastian Ghita – the latter two charged with aiding and abetting – are also under investigation, on probation, in the same case.
The anticorruption prosecutors have indicted businessman Liviu Munteanu, Hidro Prahova Production Manager Virgiliu Iuliu Roman, and the Manager of SC Grossman, Ilie Dragan.
The prosecutors also interviewed the mother of Prime-Minister Victor Ponta, Cornelia Naum, and his sister, Alexandra Hertanu.
The investigations in the case are about the circumstances in which Comarnic Municipality awarded a contract for the expansion of the sewerage system in January 2012.