National Liberal Party (PNL) Co-President Vasile Blaga went to the headquarters of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) on Monday morning. According to Blaga, the case in which he was subpoenaed as a witness concerns the accident in which his car was involved in Brasov in September, while being driven by Police Quaestor Liviu Popa, a member of Blaga’s entourage. Brasov Court of Appeals prosecutors state that they had filed no requests for the DNA to hear Vasile Blaga in this case.
On leaving the DNA, Blaga pointed out that the case was opened after his car was involved in an accident on September 6, while being driven by Quaestor Liviu Popa, a member of the PNL Co-President’s entourage. Blaga says he had asked the head of the Bihor County Police to take the Diesel-engine car, bought in 2001, out for a drive from time to time.
Quaestor Liviu Popa, head of the Bihor County Police Inspectorate (IPJ Bihor), was involved in an accident on Brasov’s beltway in early September. The officer, who was driving toward Bucharest, tried to overtake a lorry and collided with another vehicle driven on the opposite lane.
“There wasn’t anything serious, in fact I will continue my trip to Bucharest with the same car. I wanted to overtake a lorry and I entered the opposite lane where I hit a car,” the chief of police stated at the time, ebihoreanul.ro wrote.
According to hotnews.ro, the car driven by the head of Bihor County Police, a 2001 BMW with license plate number BH 20 ASW, belongs to PNL Co-President Vasile Blaga.
“Mr. Liviu Popa is Mr. Vasile Blaga’s family friend, and asked him to lend him his car for a trip to Bucharest, Liviu Popa being on vacation. Mr. Blaga expresses his regret in case any persons were affected by this incident and hopes that all persons involved are in good health,” said Mihai Somfelean, the PSD Co-President’s aide.
Chief Commissioner Liviu Naghi, Spokesperson of the Brasov County Police Inspectorate, stated on Monday for ebihoreanul.ro that the accident was not registered as a simple fender-bender since one person was injured.
“The 48-year-old driver from Bihor engaged in reckless overtaking on the Brasov beltway and collided with a car driven on the opposite lane. As a result of the accident, a 36-year-old woman, passenger on the car that was hit, was injured lightly but refused hospitalisation,” Brasov Police’s representative explained.
“I was summoned as a witness in case 175/2016,” Vasile Blaga told journalists, pointing out that he has “no idea” what this is about.
This is the third time in two years that Vasile Blaga is heard at the DNA.
Back in April this year, Vasile Blaga was summoned at the DNA as a witness in a case concerning malfeasance in office related to the appointments made within ANRP’s central damages appraisal commission. Several former ministers have been summoned as witnesses in this case in recent months.
Asked whether he had any knowledge of the irregularities at the ANRP, Blaga stated back then that he “was not involved, the prosecutors will shed light in these cases.”
In recent years, anticorruption prosecutors have investigated several alleged corruption crimes at ANRP, one of the case files being already sent to court. Emil Boc, Catalin Predoiu, Sebastian Vladescu and Gheorghe Pogea are some of those who have been heard since the start of the year, as witnesses, in the cases on which the DNA is still working.
Last year, Blaga was heard, also as witness, in a case in which prosecutors are investigating the way in which the Liberal Democrat Party received campaign contributions in 2012.
Searches at IPJ Bihor, an inspectorate led by “the family friend”
Also on Monday morning, DNA Oradea prosecutors searched the headquarters of the Bihor County Police, as well as the office and home of Chief Inspector Liviu Popa. According to ebihoreanul.ro, the searches were conducted in a case in which prosecutors also conducted searches at the police headquarters in Beius, Pietroasa and Carpinet.
According to sources quoted by ebihoreanul.ro, the actions carried out by anticorruption prosecutors on Monday morning are part of the same case in which prosecutors also searched the police headquarters in Beius, Pietroasa and Carpinet. In this case, prosecutors are probing corruption crimes allegedly committed in 2014-2016.