Ex-Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea (photo), her ex-husband, Dorin Cocos, and his son, former Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) head Alina Bica, MP Sebastian Ghita and businessman Rudel Obreja appeared before the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Tuesday, to be heard in the cases where they were charged with a variety of offences.
Elena Udrea: ‘I just wish I wasn’t photographed non-stop’
Elena Udrea said she had asked for her probation order to be removed in the ‘Gala Bute’ case because she wanted to lead a normal life, not to be pursued and photographed by the press and paparazzi.
She went to ICCJ where the preventive measures in the ‘Gala Bute’ case, where Elena Udrea is on trial for corruption, alongside Rudel Obreja and other defendants, were discussed.
After the Court hearing, Udrea said she had mainly asked for the lifting of her probation order because such a preventive measure may not remain in force as long as there is no evidence that she tried to prevent the finding out of the truth or that she interfered with the investigation.
Udrea also said another reason for which she had asked that her probation measure be removed was that she felt ‘hunted down’ by the paparazzi, press and people. ‘I just wish I wasn’t photographed non-stop. When it is not the paparazzi, there are a few well-intended citizens who take pictures and then send them to the media, which makes me feel effectively hunted down. I do not do anything more than any other human being does, I too eat, go to the bathroom, sleep, but I don’t think these should be moments captured on the mobile phone and then forwarded to be published’, Udrea said.
‘This is life, the Parliament is on holiday and they each do what they can. Some have left the country, on holiday to Miami or Italy… I have been to Navodari, but this is life… I need to give myself this privileged condition in relation to you. I mean you are always on my case’, the ex-minister also said.
She added that, in Romania, anyone with a mobile phone turns into a paparazzo.
Asked if she was considering having a baby, Udrea said she had no such intentions at that time, but she might once she walked through the courthouse gate.
Elena Udrea has been on probation since 16 June, when the High Court replaced her house arrest measure in the ‘Gala Bute’ case.
Udrea had been on house arrest from 7 May to 16 June. From 25 February to 30 April, she had been first imprisoned to the Bucharest Police remand facilities and then moved to the Targsor Prison.
Elena Udrea was sent to trial on 21 April in the ‘Gala Bute’ case on charges of abuse of power in connection with the organisation of the event by the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism and bribery in connection with the financing, by the same ministry, of various contracts.
The other co-defendants in Udrea’s case are ex-Minister Ion Ariton, the ex-President of the Romanian Boxing Federation, Rudel Obreja, Udrea’s former adviser Tudor Breazu, Stefan Lungu, former MDRT Secretary General Gheorghe Nastasia, former Director of the National Investment Company Ana Maria Topoliceanu and Dragos Botoroaga.
Elena Udrea has been also prosecuted in the ‘Microsoft’ case, where she was remanded in custody from 11 February to 17 February, when the Court placed her under house arrest. Udrea was on house arrest in that case until 25 February, when she was arrested in the ‘Gala Bute’ case.
Rudel Obreja: ‘The way in which justice is done in this country is regrettable’
The former athlete, currently businessman Rudel Obreja also appeared before the High Court on Tuesday, in the same case. He said: ‘The case is stagnating. I don’t know, to me, what’s going on is odd, but, since this whole thing started with oddities, it will continue in the same way, we’ll see where we get. Anyway, the way in which justice is done in this country is regrettable, and so is the manner in which we are threaded underfoot and smeared’.
The same day, businessman Dorin Cocos, Elena Udrea’s ex-husband, and his son, Alin Cocos, came to the Court on Tuesday. Udrea embraced him and wished him ‘Happy Birthday’ as he had just celebrated his birthday.
Ex-DIICOT head Alina Bica, Elena Udrea’s friend, went to ICCJ on Tuesday as well.
Asked about her seeing Udrea again, Bica would not give too many details. ‘How could it have been? In no particular way. It didn’t have any special connotations. We didn’t talk. If we said <Hello>, God forgive me, doesn’t mean that we talked. In my interviews, I have never denied the people I admitted to being my friends and I am not going to do it now. It’s a private affair’, Bica said.
Asked by a journalist if Udrea was as charming as before, when she was not in trouble, Alina Bica laughed and said: ‘Even more charming’.
Alina Bica was referred to Court for corruption in two criminal cases concerning illegal returns of properties.
Sebastian Ghita, new Court date
The ICCJ judges also heard a new term in the case where Sebastian Ghita was charged with bribing ex-Ploiesti Mayor Iulian Badescu. Sebastian Ghita was charged with bribery, instigation to abuse of power resulting in obtaining an undue benefit for another person and money laundering. Iulian Badescu, currently under arrest in a different matter, was charged with bribery and abuse of power resulting in obtaining an undue benefit for another person.