National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors have seized part of Victor Ponta’s assets, up to the limit of 220,000 Euros, in the case in which the ex-Premier is accused of receiving 220,000 Euros in order to make sure Sebastian Ghita was included on an eligible party list spot during the 2012 elections, sources near the investigation revealed on Wednesday.
According to the sources, the precautionary measure was taken on October 12, when Victor Ponta was heard at DNA Ploiesti in this case and targets only a residence of the former PM and not other assets belonging to him or to Deputy Sebastian Ghita, who is also investigated in the case.
Victor Ponta, who has been placed under court supervision for 60 days, is criminally prosecuted in this case for the following charges: influence and authority peddling in order to gain for himself or others money, goods or other undue benefits and complicity to money laundering.
The DNA claims that Ponta, as Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, used his authority so that Sebastian Ghita can be designated as candidate in a constituency where his party would have the certainty that he will obtain the tenure for which he was running.
“The proposal confirmation was made by Ponta Victor Viorel in order to obtain undue goods, consisting of the payment of the amount of 220,000 Euros, needed to organize a visit to Romania of a foreign political figure. By promoting several meetings with the foreign figure who was internationally known, Ponta Victor Viorel wanted to gain election capital, taking into account that throughout 2012, according to the election calendar, local and parliamentary elections were to take place. The amount of 220,000 Euros was obtained through interposed persons form the defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian,” a DNA release mentioned.
According to the release it was established that the whole activity was organized thorough a non-profit and non-political organization, which meant to introduce among the public opinion the idea that the meeting of the foreign public figure with Ponta was initiated by the former.
“For this purpose Ponta Victor together with Ghita Sebastian requested to the non-profit organization’s representative to find a way through which the foreign politician ( e.n. Tony Blair) be invited to Romania without knowing that the meeting was to take place at the initiative of Ponta Victor Viorel, and the payment for organizing the event be supported by Ghita Sebastian Aurelian, through a company controlled by interposed persons. In this regard, in order to hide the illegal origin of the 220,000 Euros, defendant Ponta Victor Viorel accepted in connivance with defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian to conclude two consecutive contracts,” the prosecutors stated.
Therefore, Sebastian Ghita was confirmed as candidate in a constituency in Prahova County, by Victor Ponta, who was at that time Chairman of the party, after receiving the amount of 220,000 Euros.
Sebastian Ghita came to Ponta’s defence by saying it is all a political game ahead of the parliamentary elections. “It’s the prosecutor’s PR game. It’s a huge fix against the law. When the High Court rules something and you do the opposite, you discredit yourself as a prosecutor,” Sebastian Ghita said on RTV.