Premier Victor Ponta was indicted on Monday in the case in which he is prosecuted alongside Dan Sova, and prosecutors will audit his assets in order to freeze some of them. According to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the Premier made no statements, using his right to remain silent. Ponta showed up at the DNA on Monday morning, in crutches, and spent approximately 30 minutes at the hearing. On his way out, the Premier stated that he will return to the DNA for hearings in August, after the financial audit ordered in the case is finished. He refused to state whether he will resign.
Judicial sources told Mediafax that DNA prosecutors started a penal action against Premier Victor Ponta, changing his status from suspect to defendant in the Turceni-Rovinari case.
According to the aforementioned sources, in this context prosecutors have decided to freeze some of Ponta’s assets. Investigators will audit Ponta’s movable and immovable assets, bank accounts, valuables and real-estate properties, in order to freeze some of them up to the value needed to cover the damage ascertained in the case in which he is investigated. Premier Victor Ponta was at the DNA on Monday, being subpoenaed in the Turceni-Rovinari case in which he is accused of forgery of private documents and of being an accessory to tax evasion and money laundering, crimes he allegedly committed when he was a lawyer. Victor Ponta arrived at the DNA headquarters around 10.55 a.m. and used crutches.
Victor Ponta did not make any statements at the DNA on Monday, invoking his right to remain silent, the aforementioned sources added. According to the same sources, prosecutors did not expand their prosecution against Ponta to include accusations other than the ones brought against him on June 5.
When leaving the DNA headquarters, where he spent approximately 30 minutes, Ponta stated that he made not statements in the case and he will return in August for hearings. The Premier pointed out that the financial audit ordered in the case should be finished by then, without pointing out what the goals of the audit are.
Asked whether he will resign, Victor Ponta said: “Don’t you want us to talk politics somewhere else, not at the DNA? We’ll see each other at the party, at Parliament.”
While walking toward his car, Ponta stopped and reproached the journalists for breaking his crutch in the melee.
In crutches and surrounded by security agents and journalists, the Premier found it difficult to get from his car to the building. Ponta even had an amusing exchange with the journalists present, whom he reproached for blocking his way.
“I implore you. Don’t be angry with me, but I can’t walk very well and I wouldn’t want you to topple me. I want to get to the DNA and you are not allowing me, it’s unheard of. Be careful, the cable is here and you topple me. Be careful, you’ve just hit me in the head with the camera. Thank you very much,” Victor Ponta said.
Victor Ponta was summoned before DNA prosecutors on June 5, the latter informing him that he is prosecuted for forgery of private documents and for being an accessory to tax evasion and money laundering. The crimes he is accused of are investigated in the Turceni-Rovinari case and were allegedly committed when Ponta was a lawyer.
The DNA asked the Lower Chamber back then to approve its prosecution against the Premier for conflict of interest too but the MPs rejected the request on June 8.
On June 14, the date on which he should have been heard in the Turceni-Rovinari case, Ponta was hospitalized at the Medipol University Hospital in Istanbul, where he underwent knee surgery a day later. After he left hospital, Ponta decided to remain in Turkey for recovery, and returned to Romania on July 8, after almost a month of absence.
During his absence, Loredana Radu, Ponta’s lawyer, went to the DNA several times in order to study the case in which he is prosecuted.
While in Turkey, Premier Victor Ponta stated that on his first day back in Romania he will go to the DNA for a new hearing, pointing out that the prosecutor might decide to remand him on conditional bail.
On his return, Ponta only went to the Government, in crutches, and asked the President to take note of the fact that he has resumed his activity, “bearing in mind the removal of the causes that generated the impossibility of exercising the Prime Minister’s prerogatives.”
During his absence, PSD’s leadership was taken over ad interim by Rovana Plumb, while Gabriel Oprea was appointed interim Prime Minister.