Prosecutors with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) have ordered the criminal prosecution of businessman Ioan Niculae, owner of Interagro SA, and politician Gheorghe Bunea Stancu, a former chairman of the Braila County Council, in a case in which several searches were conducted on Thursday.
In a press statement released on Friday, DNA reports that Bunea Stancu is standing accused of influence peddling, and Ioan Niculae is standing accused of continual influence purchasing, instigation to tax evasion and money laundering.
The case also saw the prosecution procedures being started against Nicoleta Toncea, CEO of Interagro SA, for complicity to tax evasion and money laundering, Viorel Barac, General Director, and Adriana Guta, Economic Director, both at the same company, but also against Interagro SA, for tax evasion and money laundering.
Niculae on Friday morning was brought to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) to be heard in connection with a case that entailed searches at Niculae’s domicile and the registered office of his company Interagro on July 23.
Niculae, prosecuted by DNA even behind bars
National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors searched on Thursday the headquarters of the InterAgro company controlled by businessman Ioan Niculae, as well as the latter’s homes. The searches were part of a new corruption probe.
DNA announced in a communiqué that “investigations are being conducted in a case that concerns suspicions of corruption and economic crimes (tax evasion and money laundering) committed in 2008-2009.”
Thus, prosecutors searched 11 locations in Bucharest and the Teleorman and Prahova counties, namely the headquarters of companies and the homes of physical persons. Niculae was allegedly denounced by businessman Dorin Cocos, Antena 3 informs.
The same sources say indicted businessman Dorin Cocos allegedly reported to DNA that Niculae asked him in 2008-2009 support to influence public servants and dignitaries into drawing up a governmental decision under which public subsidies would be granted for fertilisers of domestic production, which allegedly led to the indirect subsidising of Niculae’s industrial works, which back then would put out nearly 90 per cent of the domestic production of fertilisers.
In exchange for his service, Cocos was to get a financial reward to the tune of 1 million euros.
Ioan Niculae is in jail after he was sentenced in a different corruption case. The damage in this new case allegedly totals EUR 2 M, Digi24 informs.
Sources quoted by Mediafax point out that the searches targeted Niculae’s homes in Zimnicea, in Teleorman County and in Busteni.
According to sources quoted by Agerpres, the investigation concerns several crimes that the Fiscal Authority identified in the commercial transactions between InterAgro and Libarom Agri. The transactions concerned promotion materials. The Fiscal Authority notified anticorruption prosecutors after an audit targeting InterAgro revealed irregularities in its contracts with Libarom and Insomar Research and Political Marketing.
Ioan Niculae was sentenced to two years and six months in jail in April, executory sentence, in the “Bribe at PSD” case. The sentence was final. Niculae was jailed at the Giurgiu Penitentiary and the sum of RON 641,000 was seized from his accounts.
Ioan Niculae, the owner of InterAgro, is considered the wealthiest Romanian, being included in this year’s Forbes International rankings on 1,442nd place, with an estimated wealth of USD 1.1 bln.