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May 16, 2021
POLITICS

2015, year with highest number of resignations in Parliament

21 lawmakers lost their tenures in 2015. Over half of the lawmakers that resigned or were removed from office lost their tenures because of legal problems.

Thus, 21 lawmakers (18 Lower Chamber lawmakers and 3 Senators) ended their tenures in 2015. Over half of them resigned or were removed from office because of legal problems of a criminal nature or of incompatibility.

Ten lawmakers resigned because of legal problems, while two others resigned invoking personal reasons, although they too were in the crosshairs of the judiciary.
Thus, the lawmakers that resigned because they were prosecuted or even under arrest were Ioan Adam (PSD), Oana Mizil (PSD), Danut Culetu (PNL), Ion Dinita (PC), Marko Attilla (UDMR), Theodor Nicolescu (PNL), Ion Ochi (PSD), Constantin Adascalitei (PSD), Darius Valcov (PSD) and Miron Mitrea (PSD).

Three lawmakers resigned in order to hold other offices. They were Marcu Nicu (PLR), Ilie Sarbu (PSD) and Mihai Razvan Ungureanu (PNL). Thus, Ungureanu was elected head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) last summer, at the proposal of President Klaus Iohannis. Ilie Sarbu and Marcu Nicu both left for the Court of Accounts. In what concerns Ilie Sarbu (Victor Ponta’s father-in-law), there were speculations that his resignation was imposed by the party leadership as a result of the fact that Liviu Dragnea took over the party’s reins. However, the former Social Democrat dismissed the allegations, stating he wanted to leave Parliament ever since 2014 but stayed on at the request of the PSD President (Victor Ponta at the time).
On the other hand, three members of the Lower Chamber died in 2015: Octavian Bot (PLR), Aurel Vladoiu (PSD) and Gheorghe Ciobanu (PSD). Lower Chamber lawmaker Vasile Mocanu (PSD) resigned because of health reasons.

Overall, 50 lawmakers have lost their offices since the general elections of 2012: 36 members of the Lower Chamber and 14 Senators. 2015 was the year that registered the highest number of cases, after 11 lawmakers lost their offices in 2013 and 18 in 2014, as shown by Mediafax.


43 lawmakers convicted, arraigned or prosecuted

In 2015, almost 10 per cent of the lawmakers ended up at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). Some were only prosecuted, others were convicted or even left Parliament in order to serve jail time. In some cases, the criminal offenses were related to offices held before they became members of Parliament. In others, the investigations started based on the National Integrity Agency’s (ANI) findings. All these cases come on top of the dozens of cases registered in previous years, but also of the numerous cases of incompatibility or conflict of interests that ANI established without notifying the prosecutors.

One of the most resounding cases, the one concerning the illegal retrocession of forests, a case in which two Social Democrats and one Liberal were involved, has made several “victims” in Parliament… Other cases, such as those in which Varujan Vosganian and Laszlo Borbely were involved, were blocked because the start of the criminal prosecution was not approved. The most resounding case was that of Dan Sova, a Social Democrat Senator elected in Olt. In September, he was arraigned alongside ex-Premier Victor Ponta and the director of the Rovinari Centre, in the Turceni-Rovinari case. After his fellow lawmakers protected him once, the request to detain and place him under pre-trial arrest, a request filed as part of the CET Govora case in which he is accused of taking a EUR 100,000 bribe, was nevertheless approved in early December.

In May 2015, current PSD President Liviu Dragnea was sentenced by the court of first instance to one year in jail, suspended sentence, in the case concerning elections fraud committed during the 2012 impeachment referendum.

Monica Iacob Ridzi, former Youth and Sports Minister in the Emil Boc Government, was sentenced in February to five years in jail, executory sentence, for malfeasance in office in the case concerning the Youth Day events organized in 2009, Digi24 shows. The sentence was final. The former minister turned herself in on February 16. In the meantime, the Presidency has rejected her compassionate release request.

Also in February last year, PSD Lower Chamber lawmaker Miron Mitrea resigned from Parliament two weeks before he was sentenced to two years in jail, executory sentence, for passive bribery in a case concerning construction works carried out at the home of his mother. The sentence was final.

In February, Lower Chamber lawmaker Kerekes Karoly (UDMR) was sentenced to one and a half years in jail, suspended sentence, for conflict of interests because he hired his wife and his son at his parliamentary office. The Supreme Court’s ruling was final.

In March, the High Court of Justice sentenced Lower Chamber lawmaker Sonia Draghici (PSD) to the payment of a criminal fine of RON 2,000 in the case in which she was accused of conflict of interests because she hired her son. The decision is not final.

In June, Lower Chamber lawmaker Ghervazen Longher (parliamentary representative of national minorities) was sentenced by the court of first instance to three years in jail, suspended sentence, also for conflict of interests because he hired members of his own family.

In February, the High Court sentenced Lower Chamber lawmaker Mate Andras Levente (UDMR) to six months in jail, suspended sentence, for conflict of interests after he hired his own wife. The decision was final.

In February, Lower Chamber lawmaker Niculae Mircovici (parliamentary representative of national minorities) was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended sentence, for conflict of interests. The decision was final.

In March, Senator Corneliu Dobritoiu (PNL) was sentenced by the court of first instance to one year in jail, suspended sentence, in the “Houses for Generals” case (the illegal procurement of a workhouse at a subsidised price).
In June, Lower Chamber lawmaker Vasile Gliga (PSD) was sentenced to one year in jail, suspended sentence, for conflict of interests (he hired his own wife). The decision was final.

In November, Lower Chamber lawmaker Anghel Stanciu (PSD) was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended sentence, for conflict of interests because he hired his own son and daughter-in-law. The decision was final.

In January, Lower Chamber lawmaker Adrian-Miroslav Merka (parliamentary representative of national minorities) was sentenced by the court of first instance to one year and six months in jail, suspended sentence, also for conflict of interests (he hired his own parents).

In February, Lower Chamber lawmaker Marian Neacsu (PSD) was sentenced by the court of first instance to the payment of a criminal fine of RON 2,000 because he hired his own daughter.

In March, Lower Chamber lawmaker Florin Costin Paslaru (PSD) was sentenced by the court of first instance to the payment of a criminal fine of RON 2,000 for conflict of interest (he hired his own son in 2009-2012).

In March, Lower Chamber lawmaker Ion Stan (PSD) was sentenced by the court of first instance to two years in jail, executory sentence, for influence peddling after he allegedly asked a businessman for money in exchange for helping him win public contracts, Digi24 adds.

In May, Lower Chamber lawmaker Marian Ghiveciu (PSD) was sentenced by the court of first instance to three years in jail, suspended sentence, in a case concerning the illegal retrocession of plots of land in Bacau County. His resignation from Parliament followed in September, but the malfeasance in office charge brought against him was not among the reasons he invoked.

In mid-December, Senator Ionel Agrigoroaiei (UNPR) was sentenced by the court of first instance to two years and six months in jail, suspended sentence, and to 80 days of community service. He is accused of using false documents in order to contract a bank loan.

Elena Udrea, Lower Chamber lawmaker and former PDL minister. With a record number of detention and pre-trial arrest requests filed on her name, the former PMP President was arraigned in April in the “Bute Boxing Gala” case. Udrea is also prosecuted in three other cases, including the “Microsoft” case.

In January, former Lower Chamber lawmaker Ioan Adam (PSD) was arraigned, after spending many months under pre-trial arrest, in the case concerning the illegal retrocession of forests, a case in which Viorel Hrebenciuc (former PSD Lower Chamber lawmaker) and Tudor Chiuariu (PNL Senator) are also involved, Digi24 shows. The charges brought against them were: Ioan Adam – instigating malfeasance in office, setting up an organized crime group and buying influence; Viorel Hrebenciuc – setting up an organized crime group, influence peddling and money laundering; Tudor Chiuariu – setting up an organized crime group, influence peddling and money laundering. Following Hrebenciuc’s example, Adam resigned from Parliament in January 2015.
Lower Chamber lawmaker Danu Culetu was arraigned on the first day of 2015, being charged with malfeasance in office, a crime allegedly committed while he was Constanta County’s Prefect. Culetu resigned from Parliament in early April.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Mircea Rosca (PNL). In February 2015, he was arraigned for influence peddling and instigating malfeasance in office in a case in which he is accused of asking a businessman for EUR 20,000 in exchange for interceding in order for his company to be awarded plots of land in the city.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Theodor-Catalin Nicolescu (PNL). Arraigned in April in the case in which former ANI President Horia Georgescu is also involved, the Liberal resigned from Parliament in May. Three months later, he was arraigned in a second criminal case also related to the illegal retrocessions awarded by ANRP.
Senator Ion Ariton (PNL), former PDL minister, was arraigned in April in the “Bute Boxing Gala” case in which Elena Udrea is prosecuted.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Ion Ochi (PSD) was arraigned in June, under conditional bail, being charged with passive bribery and malfeasance in office in a case concerning the procurements made by the Brasov County Council. Ochi resigned from Parliament in early September.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Neculai Ratoi (PSD) was arraigned in June, under conditional bail, in a case concerning the fact that the Pascani Local Council exempted a company from paying local taxes. Senator Florin Constantinescu (PSD) is also involved in the case.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Sebastian Ghita (PSD). In July, he was arraigned alongside Ploiesti Mayor Iulian Badescu in the case that concerns the financing received by the Basket Club Asesoft Association, the aforementioned source shows. In another case, the Social Democrat is criminally prosecuted for influence peddling, tax evasion, money laundering, being an accessory to the embezzlement of European funds and corrupting voters in the general elections of 2012 and the presidential elections of 2014.
Also in July, Lower Chamber lawmaker Constantin Adascalitei (PSD) was arraigned, under conditional bail, being charged with carrying out financial operations incompatible with the office held.

In August, Lower Chamber lawmaker Dan Bordeianu (PSD) was arraigned in a case concerning the distribution of water in three localities in Vaslui County, being charged with being an accessory to malfeasance in office and forgery in private documents.

Lower Chamber lawmaker Mircea Draghici (PSD) was arraigned in November, alongside former Arges County Council Chairman Constantin Nicolescu and another 38 defendants, in a case concerning acts to the prejudice of 35 administrative territorial units, acts that consisted of the closing of consultancy contracts.

Senator Darius Valcov (PSD) resigned from Parliament in May, after he had been arraigned in a case in which he was charged with influence peddling, money laundering and financial operations incompatible with the office held. In November, he was arraigned in a second case (concerning a 10 per cent commission that was to be paid from the value of public contracts awarded by the Slatina Mayoralty).

Lower Chamber lawmaker Cornel Mircea Samartinean (PNL) was arraigned a few days ago in a case in which he is charged with malfeasance in office, continuous offence, and conflict of interests. The case concerns acts allegedly committed by the Liberal while he was director of the ‘Traian Vuia’ International Airport in Timisoara.
In 2015, criminal cases were also opened against Lower Chamber lawmakers Iulian Iancu (PSD), Ioan Oltean (PNL), Lucian Sova (PSD), Catalin Teodorescu (PSD), Marin Anton (UNPR), Andrei Dolineaschi (PSD) and Dan Motreanu (PNL), and against Senators Alexandru Cordos (PSD) and Lucian Iliescu (UNPR).

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