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May 20, 2022

Ex-Premier Victor Ponta heard in ‘Tony Blair’ Case: “Let’s not make a complete fool of ourselves”

Ex-Premier Victor Ponta was heard on Wednesday morning, for around 40 minutes, at the headquarters of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in Ploiesti, in the case in which he is accused of receiving 220,000 Euros in return for making sure Sebastian Ghita had an eligible position on the party’s lists in the 2012 elections.

Asked, when leaving the DNA headquarters, whether former British Premier Tony Blair will also be heard in the case, Victor Ponta answered in his defence: “Let’s not make a complete fool of ourselves. You really want to see Tony Blair at DNA Ploiesti?”

In what concerns the hearings, Ponta stated that he fully upheld the statements he gave before the High Court judge.

“I haven’t changed anything in them,” the ex-Premier said.

Ponta arrived at DNA Ploiesti in the morning, accompanied by his lawyer, stating he had not “met the prosecutor in a month and a half.”

Asked whether he was ready, the ex-Premier said he was ready to make statements.

In this case, the ex-Premier has been placed under court supervision for a period of 60 days, being accused of using his influence or authority in order to obtain undue assets or benefits for himself or for others, and of complicity to money laundering, namely of receiving 220,000 Euros in return for including Sebastian Ghita on an eligible place on the party’s lists in the 2012 elections.

DNA Ploiesti prosecutors claim that, in order to include Sebastian Ghita as a candidate on PSD’s lists, in an electoral college in which he would have had the certainty of winning the seat he was running for, Victor Ponta used his authority to confirm his presence on the party lists. Ponta confirmed his presence allegedly in order to obtain undue benefits, namely 220,000 Euros he needed in order to organise former British Premier Tony Blair’s visit to Romania.

The sum of 220,000 Euros was obtained from Ghita through middlemen, according to the DNA.

“By obtaining media coverage on account of his meeting with a personality that had international notoriety, Ponta Victor Viorel sought to gain votes, considering that local and parliamentary elections were scheduled in 2012,” reads a DNA communique.

In order to create the appearance that Tony Blair’s visit in Romania did not take place at the party’s initiative, the DNA adds, it was decided that the entire event should be organised by a non-profit and apolitical organisation that would induce the idea that the former British Premier Tony Blair’s meeting with Victor Ponta took place at the initiative of the former.

“For this purpose, Ponta Victor and Ghita Sebastian asked the representative of the non-profit organisation to find a way to invite the foreign politician to Romania without being known that the invitation was the initiative of Ponta Victor Viorel, and the costs of the event to be covered by Ghita Sebastian Aurelian through a company he indirectly controlled. In this sense, in order to hide the illicit origin of the 220,000 Euros, defendant Ponta Victor Viorel accepted, in connivance with defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian, to successively sign two contracts,” reads the DNA communique.

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