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January 24, 2022

Microsoft file: Cocos, Niro, Pinalti and Sandu, one step away from jail. Prosecutors ask for defendants to be arrested and for EUR 16 M to be confiscated

The famous Microsoft case in which big names are involved is approaching its end, and the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) asked the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Wednesday to issue executory jail sentences for all four defendants, namely businessmen Dorin Cocos and Nicolae Dumitru (a.k.a. Niro), former Communications Minister Gabriel Sandu, and former Piatra Neamt Mayor Gheorghe Stefan (a.k.a. Pinalti).

Prosecutors also asked for the confiscation of EUR 16 M (EUR 2 M each from Cocos and Sandu, USD 7.5 M and EUR 2 M from Nicolae Dumitru and EUR 4 M from Gheorghe Stefan), money that the DNA claims the defendants obtained illegally, news.ro informs.

At the same time, Dorin Cocos and Gheorghe Stefan were heard at the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, Digi24 informs.


Former Piatra Neamt Mayor “punished” for not admitting the charge


Present at the court hearing, the DNA prosecutor handling the case asked the court to issue executory jail sentences against the four. Nevertheless, the prosecutor asked the court to take into account that three of the defendants – Cocos, Niro and Sandu, charged with influence peddling and money laundering – fully admitted the charges so they can benefit from a simplified procedure, ziare.com informs. The judges agreed, so that the two businessmen and the former minister could benefit from the reduction of their sentences by a third. The maximum sentence for the crimes they are accused of is 7 years in jail.

The DNA did not make the same request in the case of the former Piatra Neamt Mayor (photo), who did not fully admit the charges brought against him by anticorruption prosecutors.

The Supreme Court finalized judging the Microsoft case on the merits and will announce the date on which it will present the sentences reached.

Cocos, Sandu and Dumitru admitted their crimes in October last year, when they told judges how the influence peddling was committed and how the commissions were collected after the Communications Ministry bought the Microsoft licences. The court admitted at that time the three defendants’ request to implement a simplified procedure.

On the other hand, Gabriel Sandu, Minister of Communications from December 2008 to September 2010, told the judges at the time that he does not recognize the passive bribery and money laundering charges, however he claimed that he sent all the money he received to PDL, the party whose member he was, in order to finance the elections campaign. Gabriel Sandu made a memorable statement back then, saying he was “the worst minister in Romania’s history.”

According to the DNA, Dorin Cocos allegedly asked for and received EUR 9 M from businessmen Claudiu Florica and Dinu Pescariu, in order to make sure, through Elena Udrea – Tourism Minister and PDL Vice President at the time –, that the companies they backed would sign and implement the licensing contract that Microsoft concluded with the Communications Ministry.

Likewise, prosecutors pointed out that Dorin Cocos allegedly asked for EUR 17.5 M for himself, Gheorghe Stefan and Gabriel Sandu, in order to intervene in buying the right to use Microsoft licences.

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