On Monday, the High Court of Justice (ICCJ) sentenced Dumitru Nicolae (Niro) and Dorin Cocos (photo) each to 2 years and 4 months in prison, Gabriel Sandu to 3 years in prison and Gheorghe Stefan to 6 years in prison. The High Court thus increased the sentences ruled by the court of first instance. Gheorghe Stefan “Pinalti” received the heaviest court sentence – 6 years in prison.
Businessman Nicolae Dumitru was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months in prison for influence peddling in the Microsoft case, up from the initial sentence of 1 year and 6 months. Nicolae Dumitru will be sent to prison after the court wires the paperwork to the police. Likewise, the court ruled that he should pay the state 2,050,000 Dollars and 1 million Euros.
At the last court hearing, the businessman’s lawyer asked the judges to rule a suspended sentence against his client.
“I deeply regret the offences. (…) I have two sons, aged 25 and 26,” a tearful Nicolae Dumitru told judges.
Elena Udrea’s ex-husband, businessman Dorin Cocos, was found guilty for influence peddling and money laundering, the court ruling the seizing of 9 million Euros and sentencing him to 2 years and 4 months in prison.
Former Piatra Neamt Mayor Gheorghe Stefan was sentenced to 6 years in prison for influence peddling. The court also ruled over 3 million Euros seized.
Gabriel Sandu, former Communications and Information Society Minister from December 2008 to September 2010, was found guilty of passive bribery and money laundering, the court ruling 2 million Euros seized and sentencing him to 3 years in prison.
The High Court of Justice’s sentences are executory for all four defendants. They will be taken to prison once the court issues the necessary paperwork.
At the court hearing on Monday, the four defendants told judges they regret their actions, asking for suspended sentences.
Gabriel Sandu announced he filed a denunciation with the U.S. Department of Justice, while Dorin Cocos and Gheorghe Stefan assured the judges they will never break the law again. In tears, Nicolae Dumitru told the panel of judges he has two children.
“From the very first moment I was summoned I offered the possibility to collaborate with the DNA. At first I was refused. I filed a denunciation, explaining what happened. I admit the guilt, I admit the statements. What did the denunciation start off from. 104 million Dollars in 2004-2008, this is the damage caused by the Florica transnational crime network. I am informing you that I have filed a denunciation with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Austrian Justice Ministry against the Florica network and the Microsoft executives. I am asking you to take this as a reason to lower my sentence and issue a suspended sentence. I have asked both the U.S. embassy and Austria to point out what my interventions were. 460 from 2009 is the only legal Government Decision in the Microsoft deal, all the other decisions and documents are illegal. I take responsibility for my statements. I now know that all my overtures are useless because during the trial I waited for mercy, thinking maybe it will be a suspended sentence. I shouldn’t have done this and I should have brought all the documents instead, should have made all overtures. All ministers had clear directives from the parties. Who is to be employed, where they should be employed. I admit everything before the High Court. I admit I asked for and received the more than two million. I asked for that to cover the costs of the elections campaign in 2009,” Gabriel Sandu said.
The former minister maintained his statements when talking to journalists too.
“The damage in this case stands at 104 million Dollars in 2004-2008 and 114.5 million Euros in 2009-2013. The hopes are high. All Education Ministers and Communications Minister are involved, as well as those whose prosecution President Traian Basescu was asked to green-light. I asked SRI to confirm the state of necessity that existed in 2009, I asked STS to confirm the state of necessity in 2009, because I was receiving reports from both SRI and STS. This network has another contract, the Justice Ministry contract,” Gabriel Sandu told journalists after the trial.
Gabriel Sandu’s lawyer also asked the court to acquit him or rule a suspended prison sentence.
“I swear, my hand on the Bible, that I deeply regret, but I believe I can fix this only through proper attitude. I’m sorry for my actions, I will surely never do this again. I believed a big deal with Microsoft is not a bad thing. I was wrong. So help me God,” Dorin Cocos stated in court.
The businessman’s lawyer asked the judges to sentence his client to eight months in prison, suspended sentence.
“I consider myself guilty and I deserve to be punished. But I believe the offence should be legally classified in line with Article 13. With my hand on the Bible, I swear I did not ask for and did not receive a cent from the Microsoft deal, no cent came into my possession. I’m guilty because I exercised the influence I had on Gabriel Sandu, I regret. I want to continue to collaborate, to establish where the sums of money ended up. I’m guilty, I deserve to be punished. Had I known the laws like I do now I would no longer have been here before you,” Gheorghe Stefan told the judges.
Gheorghe Stefan’s lawyer did not make specific requests related to the sentence.
“I profoundly regret my actions. (…) I have two sons, aged 25 and 26,” a tearful Nicolae Dumitru told judges. His lawyer asked the judges to rule a suspended sentence.