The Juridical Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved on Friday the request of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) to initiate an inquiry on Elena Udrea. On the other hands, the DNA requests concerning Udrea’s retaining and arrest failed to gain the compulsory number of votes for approval, as there were just 11 votes gained, compared to 12, required for approval. Deputy Elena Udrea declared, after being interrogated by her colleagues in the Parliament, that she had asked them to vote as they thought it would be fit for Romania, as for her jail was not a merry topic, it is already “jail in autumn – winter collection”.
Juridical Committee approved the start of inquiry against Elena Udrea denied requests of retaining and arrest
The juridical committee held discussions on Friday concerning the requests to start the legal inquiry, retaining and preventive arrest of Deputy Elena Udrea. The first part of the meeting was attended by Udrea, too, in the company of a lawyer.
DNA prosecutors filed two requests of criminal pursuit and approval for former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea’s retaining and preventive arrest due to alleged offences of bribe taking, influence peddling, instigation to abuse of office, completing financial operations incompatible with her position and closing financial transactions based on information gained due to her position, money laundering and false declarations of wealth (concerning her declarations in the interval 2009 – 2012), while she had held the quality of member of the Romanian Government. DNA requests have arrived to the Chamber of Deputies approximately two hours after the announcement made by prosecutors.
The Permanent Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies had decided on Friday that demands regarding the approval of the criminal inquiry and of Deputy Elena Udrea’s retaining and preventive arrest would be forwarded to the Juridical Committee, that had a deadline of three days to issue the report.
“The DNA request concerning approval to start criminal inquiry against Elena Udrea gained 19 votes “for”, 2 “against” and one canceled vote”, Ciprian Nica, Vice-President of the Juridical Committee declared on Friday.
The DNA request regarding retaining failed to attain the number of required votes, as there were 11 votes supporting the request, instead of 12, as needed.
Therefore, there were 11 votes “for”, eight “against”, two abstaining and a canceled vote, as the Committee meeting was attended by 22 Deputies.
The DNA request concerning the approval of preventive arrest of Deputy Elena Udrea was not approved either. Vice-President of the Committee Ciprian Nica revealed that 11 Deputies had voted “for”, 7 “against”, 3 abstained and one vote was canceled.
Nica declared that the members of the Committee are due to include in the report the results of the voting and the fact that the required number of votes needed to approve Udrea’s retaining and arrest was not reached, and the plenum of the Chamber was to decide.
Udrea, after being interrogated in the Committee: I have so many things to tell prosecutors when they call me to question me
Former Minister Elena Udrea confessed that she had plenty of information to share with prosecutors when they would call her to question her.
“I cannot tell you anything because the file is secret, yet, prosecutors did not even call me to ask me questions. I have so many things to tell them when they call me to question me, that I hope that they will have the wish and the interest to listen to what I have to say”, Udrea declared.
She said she had demanded Deputies to act as they thought it would be better for Romania.
“I demanded Deputies to do what they thought would be better for Romania. I told them they should do what would benefit Romania. After all, we are in Romania’s Parliament, and Romania’s Parliament is the forum that issues the laws, is the legislative power in this country, as long as there is democracy, the power is held by the Parliament. The Parliament includes good people and not-so-good people, just like the entire society does, and I told them they should act according to how they wish Romania would be from now on”, Udrea added.
Asked whether she was prepared for a new arrest, Udrea replied: “If the subject would not be so sad, I would answer with a joke, but prison is not a merry subject for me, it is already prison in the autumn – winter collection. The spring – summer collection is over, as I see that there is a new request of arrest each season. You are never prepared for such thing.”
Elena Udrea admits bags of money might have gone to PDL
Elena Udrea made challenging statements during the hearings in the Juridical Committee. The ex-Minister admitted that the bags of money mentioned by DNA prosecutors in her new file were handed over to Traian Basescu’s previous preferred party, the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL), that includes great names in the present National Liberal Party (PNL), such as Vasile Blaga or Catalin Predoiu.
Also, Elena Udrea claimed that the people trying so hard to put her behind bars now are precisely the people she had appointed in key positions.
“Yes, money has come from Buzaianu to PDL in the 2012 campaign. Should we arrest Elena Udrea because PDL was granted money by Buzaianu? Why not arrest everybody? When I told that to the Prosecutors’ Office, they split the case. (…) The people trying to prove now that I am corrupt are the people whom I have supported for the positions they have held and who were terrified at the referendum that they might lose their jobs”, Elena Udrea explained in the Juridical Committee, according to political sources quoted by Romania TV.
Romania TV presented exclusive information from Elena Udrea’s new file, as DNA prosecutors demanded once again the preventive arrest of the former Minister of Regional Development and Tourism. According to legal sources, the information presented by prosecutors shows that Ana Maria Topoliceanu had forwarded to PDL shady money that supported Silviu Prigoana’s electoral campaigns to the Mayoralty of Bucharest and Theodor Paleologu’s campaign for District 1.
Ana Maria Topoliceanu is the only denounce maker in Elena Udrea’s new file, according to the ex-Minister of Tourism. She also provided information that might be devastating for the former blonde of Cotroceni. According to Romania TV, Topoliceanu told prosecutors that some of the bribe given by businessman Bogdan Buzaianu was carried in bags at the PDL headquarters and that the money was left in an office held by Vasile Blaga and afterwards entered by Elena Udrea, too.
According to judiciary sources, Ana Maria Topoliceanu has revealed that, accompanied by a close friend of Bogdan Buzaianu, she had carried to the PDL headquarters in Modrogan two bags filled with approximately EUR 3.5 million from the bribe allegedly demanded the businessman by Elena Udrea. It all happened in 2012, before the electoral campaign for the local elections due that year.
So far, Vasile Blaga was not called to DNA and holds no known quality in any file.
Another episode of bribe money that allegedly ended up at PDL via Elena Udrea includes 21 homeless persons who had allegedly made substantial donations to the political party that had included the former Tourism Minister. They were interrogated at DNA in another file the Anti-Corruption prosecutors are presently working on.
Elena Udrea had spent seven hours in the Parliament on Thursday to see her new file, that includes a request for her retaining and arrest by DNA prosecutors. Juridical Committee Deputies have started to study the prosecutors’ accusations from Wednesday on. The file that arrived to the Parliament includes seven volumes and has 1,867 pages and, according to Elena Udrea, “the abundance of declarations, facts and documents makes you lose the rhythm.” “As for the offence concerning Mr. Buzaianu, the chronology is wrong, it is inexact. I was still unable to understand when the money was demanded and when it was paid. All I got to see was that everybody who has a statement in this file are trying to defend themselves by anything that might be accusing. If they would have called me, I could have sorted this story out on Mr. Buzaianu. Dorin Cocos filed no denounce against me. The only denounce, just like in the other case, that of the villa in Eforie, is that of Ms. Ana Maria Topoliceanu. And there is also a denounce against Ms. Topoliceanu in this file”, Elena Udrea declared.
According to judiciary sources, journalists Radu Budeanu, former owner of Cancan, and Dan Andronic, the owner of Evenimentul Zilei and businessman Bogdan Buzoianu, founder of Energy Holding, are involved in Elena Udrea’s new file that determined DNA file a request to the Parliament on Tuesday, demanding a criminal inquiry, retaining and arrest.
The file was based on proof granted by denounce makers. Previously, Andronic has been called to the DNA to bring documents, while several searches were conducted on the owner of Cancan, Radu Budeanu.
“I expect members of the Parliament to wait again until 2 AM to vote for my arrest”
Elena Udrea also declared on Friday at the Parliament Palace that certain coincidences seemed strange to her and that she expected Deputies to stay once again until 2 AM in the plenum to vote for her arrest. “Have you ever seen anyone before they tried to arrest for three times during the last few months? These denounces refer to all politicians. (…) The members of the Parliament are still terribly scared of what might happen to them, therefore I am expecting them to stay again until 2 AM, if needed, to vote. The leaders’ order will be to vote for the arrest because Mr. Dragnea has his lawsuit on 11th of next month and he has to do what he is told to do”, Udrea explained.
She also showed that it is a very strange coincidence that her arrest was demanded three days before of the Congress of the Popular Movement Party (PMP), just like in the previous date when they demanded her arrest.
“It is a very strange coincidence, last time they arrested me three days before the PMP Congress and now they are trying to arrest me three days before this PMP Congress. I think that the PMP Congresses bring me bad luck, I will recommend them not to make congresses anymore”, Udrea added.
Asked who might be behind these new attempts to have her behind bars against, Udrea replied. “The same person who supported the first attempts to put me in jail. Remember that, during one sole week, there were six arrest requests that appeared after I made a denounce concerning Ms. Kovesi and Mr. Coldea, a denounce that was solved in a week.”
She also declared she was no social danger to be placed under preventive arrest.
“Is any sane country that allows so many preventive arrests for one person during a couple of months? If I am on probation at this time, I am not a danger, but I am to become a social danger from next week on for a few offences I allegedly committed in 2000 and something”, Udrea concluded.