The Bucharest Court of Appeals made its final ruling in the Petromservice Case last Friday, a case in which the damage stands at EUR 83 M. The sentence Sorin Ovidiu Vintu (photo) received in the court of first instance was upheld, while the sentence that former trade union member Liviu Luca received was reduced by 3 years. The court of first instance had sentenced them for money laundering and embezzlement.
Thus, Sorin Ovidiu Vintu has been sentenced to 6 years and 2 months in prison. His main collaborators – Liviu Luca and Octavian Turcan – have been sentenced to 6 years in prison, executory sentence, and 5 years and 10 months in prison respectively. Former Petromservice CEO Gheorghe Supeala was also sentenced to 6 years in prison.
The judges also sentenced Zizi Anagnastopol, Petromservice’s former CFO, to 3 years and 6 months in prison, executory sentence; Sorin Mihai to 3 years in prison, executory sentence; Bogdan Negrutzi to 4 years in prison, executory sentence; Graziano Rino Raichovich to 3 years and 6 months in prison; Mihai Viorel Rimboaca to 1 year and 6 months in prison, suspended sentence; Daniela Brasoveanu to 1 year in prison, suspended sentence.
Based on tort law, they will all have to pay EUR 36 M in damages to Petromservice.
The case had been arraigned four years ago.
In July 2014, the Bucharest Court, as court of first instance, sentenced Sorin Ovidiu Vintu to 6 years and 2 months in prison, for embezzlement and money laundering.
Former trade union leader Liviu Luca was sentenced by the court of first instance to 9 years in prison. In the appeal, the legal classification of his offence was changed from embezzlement, continued offence, to instigating embezzlement, continued offence. Likewise, Liviu Luca’s right to be elected for public office and the right to hold an office that involves the exercise of state authority was suspended for a period of three years. Liviu Luca is believed to be the richest trade union member in Romania.
Some of the defendants (Sorin Ovidiu Vintu not included) appealed against the ruling of the court of first instance, and the trial continued at the Court of Appeals. The court of first instance’s ruling was challenged by Luca Liviu, Turcan Octavian, Supeala Gheorghe, Anagnastopol Zizi, Bohalteanu Ioan, Mihai Sorin, Negrutzi Bogdan-Radu, Raicovich Rino-Graziano, Rimboaca Mihai-Viorel, Rimboaca Razvan-Florin and Brasoveanu Daniela-Lacramioara.
The Petromservice Case
Prosecutors showed that Liviu Luca indirectly became, in 2005, the majority shareholder of SC Petromservice SA, after buying 49.35 percent of the company shares. The purchase was made through Elbahold Ltd., a Cyprus-based company. Liviu Luca’s capacity within that company was that of real beneficiary in the sense stipulated by Law no.656/2002 on the prevention and sanctioning of money laundering and by Directive 2006/60/EC.
“In this way, defendant Liviu Luca subsequently controlled Petromservice’s activity, by exercising Elbahold’s voting right within Petromservice’s General Assembly of Shareholders, which allowed him to appoint persons close to him as members of the Board, and as CEO and CFO,” the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office showed.
Prosecutors also showed that businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, who allegedly financed the purchase of the share package, aided Liviu Luca in managing the company.
In 2007, Petromservice sold its oil services operation for around EUR 325 M.
“Given the fact that, during the same period, numerous court rulings were being enforced against the company, forcing it to pay salary arrears, defendant Luca Liviu decided that the company’s assets should be transferred to companies controlled by Vintu Sorin Ovidiu, in order to avoid seeing them seized by employees or distributed as dividends to the majority shareholders,” prosecutors pointed out.