Co-Chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL) Vasile Blaga and Romania’s former President Traian Basescu on Thursday reported to the High Court of Cassation and Justice that handles a request of the General Prosecution Office to confirm the reopening of criminal proceedings against the two in the kidnapping, in 2005, of three Romanian journalists in Iraq.
Upon entering the court building, Vasile Blaga said he is unimpressed and that will make a statement in this case, if the judges ask him to.
The two politicians were summoned to the Supreme Court as part of procedure technicalities, as Bucharest District 5 Court House declined jurisdiction over the case and referred it to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Greater Romania Party (PRM) leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor filed a criminal complaint with the General Prosecution Office, accusing President Traian Basescu and then Chairman of the Democratic Liberal Party Vasile Blaga of having pocketed a part of the ransom paid by the Romanian state for the release of three Romanian journalists abducted in Iraq.
Vadim Tudor built his complaint on excerpts from a book written by former head of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism Ciprian Nastasiu, according to whom 4 million euros had gone missing from the amount paid by the Romanian State for the release of the hostages.
According to Nastasiu, the authorities in Bucharest had sent to Baghdad via the Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service and with Basescu’s involvement about 12 – 13 million euros, but the kidnappers had received only 9 million.
He accuses Basescu of having classified for 50 years the documents about the Iraq negotiations and the real amount paid to the kidnappers, Agerpres informs.
Basescu after turning up at Supreme Court: Trial of abducted journalists’ case only if declassified
Former President Traian Basescu said on Thursday, upon leaving the premises of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, that he is not in the least concerned about moves to reopen the case of the three Romanian journalists abducted in Iraq in 2005, but voiced his opinion that the case cannot be tried unless it is declassified.
“It was considered that, as I was under presidential immunity, the prosecutors had been unable to properly perform the investigation, although I wasn’t informed that such an investigation was underway. As for Mr. Vasile Blaga (who was also summoned to the Supreme Court on Thursday), he was not considered under immunity, so the case remains closed and was sent back to the Bucharest Sector 5 Court House for them to determine whether it should be reopened to also include my involvement,” Basescu said in a telephone intervention at B1 TV private broadcaster.
Asked if he is awaiting a decision on this case in the next days, Basescu said he expects a decision consistent with that taken by the Supreme Court, namely that the case should be tried at the Sector 5 Court.
The former President opined that the case of the Romanian journalists’ abduction “cannot be tried unless it is declassified.”
“I would want it to be reopened, if you want me to be very honest, with all the documents on the table, you would see a brilliant operation by a state that has defended its citizens, all the rubbish about the embezzlement of the ransom money is an ordinary lie. (…) Bringing Omar Hayssam to the country has disturbed many. (…) This is probably the payback I get for having honestly done my duty as head of state,” said Traian Basescu.