Former prime minister Victor Ponta came on Friday to the Supreme Court to attend the first trial date in the “Turceni – Rovinari” case in which he faces charges of forgery of documents under personal signature, complicity to tax evasion and money laundering.
Senator Dan Sova was also present at the sitting, but none of them was willing to make comments for the press.
The session began with an assistant magistrate reading out the indictment worked out by the anti-corruption prosecutors.
Victor Ponta was indicted by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for forgery of documents using the personal signature (17 offences), complicity to tax evasion committed through repeated acts, and money laundering in the time he was working as a lawyer and legal representative of the private legal practice ”Ponta Victor-Viorel.”
Indicted in the same case are Senator Dan Sova, coordinating lawyer of the Law Firm “Sova and Associates”; Laurentiu Ciurel, who at the time of the offences was the General Director of the Energy Complex Rovinari SA; Dumitru Cristea, who, at the time the offences were committed, was the General Director of the Energy Complex Turceni (C.E.T); and Octavian Laurentiu Graure, Economic Director of the Energy Complex Turceni (C.E.T).
The prosecutors assert that between October 2007 – December 2008, Victor Ponta, as the legal representative of the private legal practice “Ponta Victor Viorel”, obtained from SCA “Sova and Associates” the sum of over RON 181,000 for alleged activities carried out in collaboration, but which in reality had not been supplied.
“Thus, on August 30, 2007, a professional collaboration agreement was concluded between SCA ‘Sova and Associates’ represented by Sova Dan-Coman and the Private Legal Practice ‘Ponta Victor-Viorel’ represented by Ponta. The object of this agreement was for the two parties to collaborate in the cases dealing with criminal issues, business criminal law, as well as other cases if necessary. The agreement was concluded for an unlimited period of time and for the professional activities conducted in collaboration, it provided for the fees to be received by the law firm, and lawyer Ponta Victor-Viorel had to receive a fixed amount of 2,000 euro for which the latter had to issue a monthly invoice. According to the minutes dated October 29, 2007, the defendants decided to increase the fee of the defendant Ponta Victor-Viorel by 1,000 euro for October 2007 (the month when Sova agreed with defendant Cristea Dumitru to conclude a legal assistance contract containing a success fee),” DNA asserts.
On March 27, 2008 the defendants signed an addendum to the agreement increasing the amount of the fee for the lawyer Ponta Victor-Viorel to 3,000 euro (the month before, the two energy complexes had signed other legal assistance contracts with SCA “Sova and Associates” containing a success fee).
“The collaboration agreement ended in December 2008 when Ponta Victor-Viorel became a minister. For the alleged activities conducted in collaboration, lawyer Ponta issued a number of 17 fiscal invoices amounting to RON 181,439.98 over October 2007 – December 2008. The invoices were submitted for settlement to the law firm SCA ‘Sova and Associates’ which paid after registering them into the accounting books. The amounts for the 17 invoices represent expenditures which are not based on real operations, considering that, in fact, Victor Ponta did not perform any professional activity based on this collaboration agreement. Dan Sova was the only person entitled to issue orders regarding any actions of any nature involving the law firm,” DNA said, according to Agerpres.
According to the cited source, evidence showed that the signing of this collaboration agreement was intended to offer defendant Ponta Victor Viorel a pecuniary reward for the contracts concluded by SCA “Sova and Associates” with the energy complexes, given that it resulted that these contracts wouldn’t have been concluded if the perception of the management of the state companies hadn’t been that Sova was enjoying the support of defendant Victor Viorel Ponta.