The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has extended its probe against Lia Olguta Vasilescu. The Mayor of Craiova, currently under house arrest, returned before anticorruption prosecutors on Monday, two months since she was detained on corruption charges. She was heard in the legal case and prosecutors decided to extend their criminal probe against her by including a new money laundering count.
The mayor spent around 15 minutes within the DNA offices, stating on her way out that “this is an absurd case.”
“It’s the last week of the elections campaign and I had to walk around here. In the 21st Century, a mayor is summoned at the DNA for daring to paint some facades in her city. We are talking about a money laundering charge. I’m inviting the citizens of Craiova to have their say at the ballot box. (…) I would do the same thing if I were to start all over again. I did not pocket the money. The money were used to repair some facades. (…) I filed a complaint at CSM [Superior Magistracy Council] for the way the witnesses were heard in my case. I am yet to receive an answer and I will publicly reveal all evidence I have, because no judge can convict me on the basis of the evidence administered in the case. To me it seems a very thin case, it’s an elections campaign case. Olguta Vasilescu is not allowed to win the Craiova City Hall and overtures are being made for this,” the Craiova Mayor stated when leaving the DNA offices.
“I am expecting the worse because this is the final week of the elections campaign,” Vasilescu added.
In the same case, prosecutors have started a probe against Radu Cosmin Preda, Craiova’s public administrator, charging him of instigating money laundering, and against Elena Daniela Popescu, the representative of a non-profit organisation, for a new money laundering count.
“The three defendants are also charged with passive bribery (4 counts), using their authority or influence to procure money, goods or other undue benefits (3 counts) and money laundering (Vasilescu Lia Olguta), two counts of complicity to passive bribery (Preda Radu Cosmin) and four counts of complicity to passive bribery (Popescu Elena Daniela),” the DNA’s press release reads.