National Audio-visual Council (CNA) President Laura Georgescu, former CNA member Narcisa Iorga, former Piatra Neamt Mayor Gheorghe Stefan and former MP Viorel Hrebenciuc have been arraigned in the case concerning the rescinding of Giga TV’s broadcasting licence.
Laura Georgescu is accused of malfeasance in office in relation to the revocation of the decision to rescind the broadcasting licence of Giga TV, a television channel controlled by Gheorghe Stefan, but also to the drafting of 25 false complaints that resulted in the sanctioning of 11 television channels. The latter filed a civil action for RON 2,296,200 in damages.
Thus, DNA prosecutors ordered the arraignment of Laura Georgescu for malfeasance in office (two counts) and for instigating forgery in private documents, of Viorel Hrebenciuc for using his influence or authority within a political party to obtain undue money, goods or other advantages, of Gheorghe Stefan for instigating the use of influence or authority within a political party in order to obtain undue money, goods or other advantages, and of Narcisa Iorga for instigating the use of influence or authority within a political party in order to obtain undue money, goods or other advantages.
Prosecutors point out that on 17 September 2013, at Laura Georgescu’s proposal, the National Audio-visual Council (CNA) decided, by 7 votes to 4 (out of 11 CNA members present), to rescind the audio-visual licence of Giga TV, a television channel controlled by Gheorghe Stefan.
Later on, Narcisa Iorga, a member of CNA at the time, advised Gheorghe Stefan to use his political connections in order to influence the vote that the other CNA members were expected to cast on the appeal that the television channel was planning to file, investigators claim.
In this context, Iorga pointed out who were the politicians that should have been contacted and empowered in order for them, in their turn, to influence the members of CNA over whom they had influence and authority. In this context, former MP Viorel Hrebenciuc was among the politicians named by Narcisa Iorga.
Following her advice, Gheorghe Stefan asked Viorel Hrebenciuc to get directly involved in making overtures meant to determine CNA members to reconsider their decision to rescind the broadcasting licence.
Through her action, Laura Georgescu contributed to significantly disrupting CNA’s activity, by improperly exercising her prerogatives and by violating the legal provisions in the audio-visual domain, thus allowing a television channel whose licence had been correctly rescinded to continue broadcasting, the prosecutors add.
Thus, other television channels were implicitly affected, both in the form of unfair competition but also from the point of view of their confidence in the fairness of the sole body tasked with monitoring the audio-visual domain and with enforcing specific legislation.
Investigators add that in 2013-2014, as President of CNA, Laura Georgescu was the one who instigated the drafting of 25 false complaints which resulted in the sanctioning of 11 television channels. The television channels affected by Laura Georgescu’s decisions have filed a civil action for RON 2,296,200 in damages. In this case the prosecutors have ordered the freezing of Laura Georgescu’s assets.
Prosecutors received assistance from the Romanian Intelligence Service in this case.
The case has been sent to the Bucharest Court, with the proposal to uphold the distraint ordered in it.