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June 27, 2022

Policeman Traian Berbeceanu’s legal case proves judiciary works

High Court of Justice judges have acquitted Traian Berbeceanu, former chief police commissioner of BCCO Alba Iulia, in the case in which he was accused of several crimes, including money laundering, active bribery, forgery, supporting an organised crime ring and complicity to embezzlement.

The ruling is not final and can be challenged.

On the other hand, Ioan Muresan (former chief prosecutor of DIICOT Alba) and Nicolaie Ioan Cean (former prosecutor within the same structure) were sentenced to 7 years and 2 years in prison respectively, executory sentences. They were found guilty of committing several irregularities when investigating police officer Traian Berbeceanu. Likewise, Alin Mirel Muntean, former judiciary police officer within BCCO Alba, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

The court also ruled that Ioan Muresan, Alin Mirel Muntean and Nicolaie Ioan Cean should jointly pay Berbeceanu RON 97,632 as damages representing unpaid salary and EUR 100,000 as moral damages, and they should also pay RON 37,206 in court charges and RON 15,759 in legal costs incurred during the criminal probing stage.

Following his acquittal, Berbeceanu stated that the High Court of Justice’s sentence is “normal and natural.” He pointed out that he had a fair trial and that the two years of legal battles were “long and difficult.” “It’s a sentence that I find normal and natural. I was expecting it and I thank God that justice was served,” the police officer stated for Agerpres.

The chief police commissioner added that he wants to return to his colleagues at BCCO Alba.

“My only real objective is to return to my team and to my job,” Berbeceanu pointed out.

Traian Berbeceanu’s case was a resounding one. The case started on 23 October 2013 and was considered one of the biggest scandals to have rocked the Romanian judiciary after the 1989 Revolution. Berbeceanu, a police officer who had annihilated underworld groups in Deva and the Jiu Valley and who had sent to court dozens of dangerous criminals from several counties, became a “suspect” overnight. He was detained and placed under pre-trial arrest.

“Persons whom I investigated while remanded under arrest, for very serious crimes, persons who own companies, who have criminal files and who are forced to file calumnious denunciations against me and my officers, backed, of course, by state structures that are unfortunately working against us. (…) You will soon find out more details. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to clarify things during the hearings, but I have complete confidence I will do so in court, and those who have committed this infamy will pay dearly,” the police officer told journalist back then.

Basically, DIICOT was accusing Berbeceanu that in 2012, back when he was at the helm of BCCO Alba, he allegedly aided several businessmen whom prosecutors were probing for a series of offences, particularly economic offences.

When news broke, spontaneous protests of support for Berbeceanu, known among locals as a man who fights the corrupt system, took place. Moreover, Berbeceanu was released on 26 November 2013 and received a hero’s welcome in Deva.

After his arrest, the police officer denounced those who, he claimed, forged the case in order to get rid of him.

In March 2014, the DNA announced that the three persons Traian Berbeceanu blamed were under investigation for “forging” the case file that concerned the police officer. Prosecutor Muresan Ioan was accused of malfeasance in office, unjust repression and intellectual forgery. Prosecutor Nicolaie Cean was accused of complicity to malfeasance in office assimilated to corruption crimes. Judiciary police officer Alin Muntean was accused of malfeasance in office, intellectual forgery (continued offence), complicity to unjust repression. DNA prosecutors claimed at the time that the three had tried to influence several witnesses, including persons that Berbeceanu had investigated, to make false statements about the former chief of BCCO Alba.

In May 2014, DIICOT announced however that it extended its criminal probe and indicted Berbeceanu for passive bribery, money laundering, forgery and embezzlement. On the same day, DNA indicted Ioan Muresan, Nicolaie Cean and Alin Muntean. Several months later, the two cases were merged. Traian Berbeceanu became both defendant and injured party.

After more than a hundred persons were heard, the High Court of Justice ruled in favour of Traian Berbeceanu. A final sentence is expected in October this year.

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