JUSTICE

Former District 2 Mayor Neculai Ontanu released from prison

The Supreme Court has decided that former Bucharest District 2 Mayor Neculai Ontanu should be released from prison and remanded on conditional bail while he is investigated in a case in which he is accused of passive bribery. The decision is final.

High Court of Justice judges decided on Friday that former Bucharest District 2 Mayor Neculai Ontanu and Sutru Toma, former secretary of the District 2 Local Council, should be remanded on 60-day conditional bail in the case in which anticorruption prosecutors are accusing them of passive bribery and money laundering.

The decision was final so Neculai Ontanu left the Rahova Penitentiary on Friday.

In the same case, judges decided that ex-lawyer Loredana Radu should no longer remain under house arrest and should be remanded on conditional bail instead.

Neculai Ontanu’s case was sent to the Bucharest Court of Appeals on June 16.

According to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), “in his capacity as Bucharest District 2 Mayor, from 2006 to 2007, Neculai Ontanu accepted the promise of material benefits from the holder of litigation rights (the denouncer in the case), in return for easing the procedure of retrocession of ownership rights, in line with Law no.18/1991, over several plots of land located in District 2 and totalling a surface area of 83,500 square metres. During the same period, defendant Ontanu Neculai asked for and, after the ownership title was issued, indirectly received a plot of land with a total surface area of 1,500 square metres, with a market value estimated at EUR 1.44 M (located on Barbu Vacarescu Street in District 2, a residential area). The property was transferred by the denouncer, free of charge, through fictitious purchase contracts, to two intermediaries that the defendant named. The two intermediaries were defendants Radu Loredana and Radu Aurel.”

On 17 December 2008, in order to hide the fact that the asset represented criminal proceeds and the identity of its final beneficiary, Loredana Radu ceded the ownership right over the 1,000-square metre plot of land to a relative who was also close to Mayor Ontanu Neculai, through a transaction in which the price was approximately 5 times lower than the asset’s market value, anticorruption prosecutors point out.

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