The High Court has decided to replace the preventive arrest measure taken against former Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) chief prosecutor Alina Bica and former National Agency for Tax Administration (ANAF) Director Serban Pop with house arrest. The decision was taken in the case in which they are on trial for corruption in relation to the issuance of a favourable solution in a case involving businessman Horia Simu.
The High Court of Justice (ICCJ) rejected on Wednesday the written request filed by Alina Bica to replace the house arrest measure with conditional bail. The ICCJ ruled that both the former head of DIICOT and Sebarn Pop should stay under house arrest for a period of 30 days. Alina Bica and Serban Pop have been under preventive arrest since September 2.
The decision is open to attack from Alina Bica and Serban Pop, but also from National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors.
If the ruling is upheld, Alina Bica and Serban Pop will be able to leave their homes only with the court’s approval, will have to show up before investigator and judges when summoned and will not be allowed to directly and indirectly get in touch with defendant Horia Simu and with witnesses.
The court has decided that the preventive measures taken against Bica and Pop should be discussed again on November 6, when the two will be subpoenaed.
DNA prosecutors arraigned former DIICTO Director Alina Bica and former ANAF Director Serban Pop on September 26, charging them with passive bribery and with being an accessory to active bribery respectively. The two were under arrest at the time. They are accused of favourably solving a case involving businessman Horia Simu. The latter is accused of active bribery.
According to the prosecutors’ case, in 2014 Serban Popa allegedly received approximately EUR 230,000 from Horia Simu, in cash and in the form of two legal consultancy contracts, in exchange for interceding with the leadership of DIICOT in order to obtain a favourable solution in a criminal case in which the businessman was involved.
“On November 8, 2014, defendant Bica Alina Mihaela, chief prosecutor of DIICOT, indirectly received, through a middleman (the witness that filed the denunciation in this case), the sum of EUR 17,500 from a total of EUR 20,000 that she received from defendant Pop Serban. The EUR 20,000 represented a part of the total sum of approximately EUR 230,000 that was paid by the businessman in instalments, over a period of 8 months, in 2014, to defendant Pop Serban, in exchange for the latter to pass it on for the purpose mentioned above,” the prosecutors state in their indictment.
Investigators claim that, in exchange for the money, Alina Bica replaced the prosecutor handling Horia Simu’s case and pressured the new magistrate to close the case in which Horia Simu was being criminally prosecuted. In the end, the prosecutor closed the case, the DNA pointing out that based on the body of evidence in the case the magistrate’s action was faultless.
Anticorruption prosecutors have placed distraint over the assets and accounts of Serban Pop and Alina Bica.
Former DIICOT chief prosecutor Alina Bica and former ANAF Director Serban Pop were placed under arrest on September 2, following a decision taken by the Supreme Court. In early October, Alina Bica was transferred from the arrest of Bucharest Police to the Targsor Women’s Penitentiary in Prahova County.
Alina Bica was previously under preventive arrest from 22 November 2014 to 21 April 2015.Bica is currently on trial in two other corruption cases for which she spent 5 months under arrest. Alina Bica was chief prosecutor of DIICOT from May 2013 to November 2014 when she resigned.