*Patru’s husband tried to flee with pieces of evidence. Probe concerns purchase of elections software
National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors searched the headquarters of the Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) and the home of AEP President Ana Maria Patru, in a case in which influence peddling and money laundering are being probed. According to judicial sources, the investigation concerns the way in which some of the software used in previous elections was purchased, the presidential elections of 2009, in which Traian Basescu won his second term in office, being mainly under scrutiny.
The husband of AEP President Ana Maria Patru allegedly tried to flee with pieces of evidence during the searches but was stopped by police officers.
According to the source, the pieces of evidence consisted of documents concerning the company he used to own, currently struck out, documents deemed relevant for the investigation. Judicial sources claim that Ana Maria Patru allegedly received sums of money through that company.
Judicial sources pointed out that the probe concerns the last five election cycles, with the elections of 2009 being mainly under scrutiny. In 2009, Traian Basescu won his second term as President of Romania.
“In the morning of 15 November 2016, consequent to the authorisation obtained from the relevant court, searches are being carried out in 4 locations in Bucharest and the Ilfov and Valcea counties. One of the locations is a public institution and the rest are the homes of natural persons,” the DNA informed.
The guilty acts concerned were allegedly committed in 2008-2015.
Who is Ana Maria Patru. AEP President’s professional background and political ties
Standing Electoral Authority (AEP) President Ana Maria Patru, targeted by a DNA probe into influence peddling and money laundering, has been leading the institution since 2012. Prior to that, she had been AEP Vice President. In 2009 she was photographed alongside Traian Basescu and PDL leaders.
Ana Maria Patru has been AEP President since May 2012, after she was nominated by PDL and confirmed by Parliament. Prior to that, she was AEP Vice President from 2007 to 2012, endorsed by the Presidency. From 2005 to 2007, she was director of the AEP Oltenia branch.
According to the resume she posted on AEP’s website, Ana Maria Patru graduated the Law Faculty of the Romanian-American University in 2002.
According to her wealth statement, she owns a 330-square metre home; two plots of land totalling a surface area of 1,100 square metres, located in built-up areas in Vladesti commune; a 95-square metre apartment in Bucharest and an 80-square metre apartment in Ramnicu Valcea. The AEP President owns a Dacia 1310 utility vehicle and two ATVs. In terms of debt, she borrowed EUR 50,000 from natural persons and contracted a bank loan worth RON 30,044 in 2014. In the last fiscal year, Ana Maria Patru earned a total salary of over RON 110,000.
According to the press, on the night of the European Parliament elections of 2009, Ana Maria Patru was photographed and filmed while sitting at a table with Traian Basescu, incumbent president at the time, and leaders of the Democrat Liberal Party (PDL), at the Pescarus Restaurant in Bucharest. She showed up at the restaurant alongside PDL leaders. Accompanied by Emil Boc, incumbent premier at the time, she sat next to Monica Iacob Ridzi and Vasile Blaga. In response to the footage, she stated she was present at the event during her spare time and added that she is friends with several politicians, including Elena Basescu.
AEP’s Patru would have received an apartment and a luxury car in exchange of IT contract with AEP
President of the Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) Ana Maria Patru would have received an apartment and a luxury car in exchange of granting, preferentially a contract for IT services to a certain company, judicial sources stated on Tuesday.
According to the sources, the apartment and the car, both worth 210,000 Euros, would have been received by Ana Maria Patru so that she will grant a contract to a company for IT services with the AEP.
Ana Maria Patru was brought in on Tuesday with an warrant to the Ploiesti branch of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). She was lifted from a residence in Voluntari city by the Ploiesti DNA prosecutors, following some searches conducted in a case that is targeting influence peddling and money laundering.
President Iohannis: DNA investigation regarding AEP Chief – unpleasant surprise; if prosecution starts she is to be replaced
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that the investigation of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), which is targeting Permanent Electoral Authority (AEP) head Ana Maria Patru represents an unpleasant surprise, underlining that if her criminal prosecution commences, she must be replaced from office.
“I don’t believe they will be placed under a question mark (the election results – e.n.) and I don’t think the way this institution works will be substantially affected. It is a serious institution, which has worked for so many years with the election matters and I am convinced that it will do its job further, but besides this issue, a DNA investigation regarding the chief of this institution is a very, very unpleasant surprise,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Palace.
He mentioned that if the criminal prosecution of the DNA chief commences, she will have to be replaced.
“It all depends on what the DNA states. For now, I understand the first investigations were conducted today. If a criminal prosecution commences then certainly that person will have to be replaced,” Iohannis stated, mentioning that he doesn’t know the details of this case.