-2.2 C
Bucharest
January 23, 2022
INTELLIGENCE JUSTICE POLITICS

Ghita case: After eight recordings, SRI general Coldea was discharged and released from office, DNA chief prosecutor says she has no reasons to resign

*Sebastian Ghita, in the 8th recording: Laura Codruta Kovesi and Florian Coldea are agents of a foreign intelligence service

 

Former Lower Chamber lawmaker Sebastian Ghita has levied new accusations against General Florian Coldea, former First Deputy Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), and National Anticorruption Directorate Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, in a new recording broadcast on Monday evening by the RomaniaTV private broadcaster.

“I’m convinced that many of the revelations made about these two persons – Coldea and Kovesi – have been already verified by you. You’ve all seen, with documents, invoices, pictures, and you’ve heard many of the things that happened in Romania, but not all of them. However, I’m convinced that both Kovesi and Coldea are trying to lie and cover everything up,” Ghita stated in the new recording.

In it, Ghita claims that Florian Coldea and Laura Codruta Kovesi are the agents of a foreign intelligence service belonging to one of Romania’s partners. At the same time, in the 8th recording, the former lawmaker also stated that General Florian Coldea was summoned before an internal SRI commission before too, and in order to present evidence on the vacations they spent together he allegedly asked Sebastian Ghita for fake invoices, since the trips had been in fact paid by Ghita.

“Coldea’s power over his colleagues and over the other institutions stems from the exclusive relations he has with Kovesi. They are both, in fact, officers of a foreign intelligence service. The intelligence service of a country that is Romania’s partner, but an intelligence service nonetheless. This is the reason why Coldea is forcing SRI to help Kovesi with the plagiarism case, with CNATDCU, with the commissions, with anything for Kovesi to remain in office. It’s very simple to verify the party in Sinaia too. It took place at SRI’s villa in Sinaia. The drivers, waiters, singers saw it and are witnesses and in the next episodes you will see the film too,” Sebastian Ghita stated in the 8th recording broadcast by RomaniaTV.

“Two years ago, after Udrea publicly accused him of various things she had heard in Mr. Basescu’s office, Coldea was summoned before SRI’s internal commission. He asked me to help him by giving him documents concerning the vacations he spent with me. Coldea was heard before too. I helped him out with money for the vacations, I never saw it as something bad, I had the documents. I asked a friend of mine for the documents Coldea needed, to help me out with tourism agency invoices and receipts. Coldea took those documents before the commission and is doing it now too. The bad news is I was not able to get hold of documents dating two or four years back and, unfortunately, it’s easy to prove that the documents Coldea is presenting are false, by verifying the companies’ accounting books, because the invoices haven’t been registered with the Finance Ministry. I told him not everything can be made to date two, four or six years back, he said he’ll manage. Unfortunately, they won’t be useful for him and it would be better for him to tell the truth and to try to help with finding out things,” Ghita added.

He gave as an example the 2014 trip to Disneyland, a trip from which he revealed, in a previous recording, a photograph showing his wife and Florian Coldea’s wife. “I didn’t do the documents back then and it is clearly seen how the money ended up with a tourism agency that represents Lufthansa, through an agency owned by my friend from Ploiesti, A&S World Travel, and the money for Disneyland came from Asesoft. These are the registered invoices, and those that Coldea presented to SRI were meant to help him at the commission of inquiry.”

In the 8th recording, Ghita also talked about Laura Codruta Kovesi’s doctoral thesis. “In what concerns Ms. Kovesi’s plagiarism, the Prosecutor General’s Office has said it was unable to verify the flight to Cluj, on a private jet, because they were unable to find the company. Because the company is in insolvency and the Prosecutor’s Office was unable to get hold of some documents. I believe they lied. Here is the 27 July 2012 invoice which proves that I was in Cluj along with Mihnea Costoiu in order to cover for Kovesi. You all saw he tricked the law with that ministry’s commission, he lied and tried to prove what is obvious to us all. He tried to prove that Kovesi plagiarised only a bit, in the essential parts, but in fact they only checked 100 out of 400 pages and did not use a software at all.”

 

Ghita’s self-denunciation about Kovesi’s plagiarism, filed in September 2016, closed for lack of evidence

 

In September 2016, Sebastian Ghita filed with the Prosecutor General’s Office a self-denunciation in which he claimed he had evidence Kovesi’s doctoral thesis was plagiarised but the plagiarism was covered-up at governmental level when the scandal first erupted.

Back then, Sebastian Ghita stated that in 2012 he forged a report to show that Laura Kovesi’s doctoral thesis was not plagiarised.

“The High Court’s decision on Tuesday has shown me what I’ve been saying for two years, namely the fact that the cases the DNA keeps rigging against me are made-up. An ICCJ judge has decided that such a case should be sent back to the prosecutors because illegal evidence was obtained. I’ve decided to show up at the Prosecutor’s Office and do something that kept weighing heavily on me and which is, I believe, the reason why these things happened to me in the last two years.”

Back then, Sebastian Ghita said he rented a private jet and went to Cluj alongside former Research Minister Mihnea Costoiu to obtain lawyer Gheorghita Mateut’s signature attesting that Laura Kovesi did not plagiarise.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has closed the case that started after former lawmaker Sebastian Ghita claimed he took part in the falsifying of the experts’ report on the DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi’s doctoral thesis.

The reason for the decision is that the guilty deed does not exist since there is no evidence.

At the end of the audio recording broadcast on Monday evening, Sebastian Ghita also said he will present in the following episodes “the real recordings, not the ones falsified in the Realitatea Case.”

 

Elena Udrea: Now we find out what Coldea was doing at Ghita’s holiday home in Cheia and why he got angry

 

Former Lower Chamber lawmaker Elena Udrea commented on Sebastian Ghita’s most recent statements. She said that the latest revelations show us what General Florian Coldea was doing in February 2015 at the villa in Cheia, where the last private talk between Ghita and Coldea took place.

“It’s hard for me not to comment, following Ghita’s eighth recording… He says that after my 30 January 2015 revelations about Florian Coldea, the latter was summoned before an internal SRI commission. To justify himself before the commission, Coldea asked Ghita for invoices with his name on them, to prove that he himself had paid for the vacations he had spent with the former lawmaker and they hadn’t been a gift from the latter. Ghita gave him false invoices, because documents bearing Coldea’s name could no longer be retroactively made, the vacations having been paid by Asesoft… So, now we find out what Coldea was doing at Ghita’s holiday home in Cheia, two days after the revelations I made and the accusations I levied against him and Codruta Kovesi. He went there for them to agree on how to defend and surely to reproach him for telling me some things that I then made public… That is also why that was the last private talk between the two, like the former lawmaker himself said in one of the recordings; because from that moment on he no longer trusted Ghita…,” Udrea wrote on Facebook.

 

SRI finalises internal inquiry in Coldea case, general found innocent and reinstated. Invoking military dignity and honour, SRI First Deputy Director asks to be discharged

 

The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) presented on Tuesday new information on the Florian Coldea case. Following an internal inquiry, Coldea was found innocent and reinstated in office, however he asked to be discharged in order not to damage the institution’s image, a SRI press release informs.

SRI has announced that the verifications which started following the revelations made by Sebastian Ghita and the images made public by him have ended and a report has been drafted, clarifying all publicly-discussed aspects concerning Florian Coldea’s activity, “but also other publicly-discussed aspects that have to do with the activities of some members of the Service.”

“We are pointing out that a complex, thorough investigation concerning all the statements seen recently in the mass-media has taken place, the aspects concerned being targeted. The persons verified have offered all their support, have presented the necessary documents and have fully answered all questions. In the conclusion of the report presented at a meeting of SRI’s Executive Bureau, the special commission pointed out that Mr. Coldea’s activity subjected to verifications did not show elements that would represent infringements of the law or of internal regulations currently in force. After the presentation of the report, the Executive Bureau decided to reinstate Lieutenant-General Florian Coldea. At the same meeting, the First Deputy Director asked SRI Director Eduard Hellvig to be discharged and placed at the disposal of the institution after almost 12 years in which he held this office. The First Deputy Director presented reasons that have to do with the military dignity and honour and with the risk of seriously affecting the institution’s activity,” SRI informs.

Consequently, the SRI Director has asked the Romanian President to discharge Florian Coldea, the latter’s prerogatives being taken over by Eduard Hellvig.

The decision comes after SRI announced last week that First Deputy Director Florian Coldea is subjected to verifications, being suspended from office for the duration of the investigations. Coldea held that office for 12 years.

UDMR’s Attila Verestoy, member of the Senate’s SRI Oversight Commission, stated on Tuesday that the decree concerning General Florian Coldea’s discharge has reached the Romanian President.

“Mr. Coldea is discharged, he is not suspended. The decree is at the Romanian President. This is not official information. It’s based on my sources,” Attila Verestory said.

The discharge request reached President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday. President Klaus Iohannis received on Tuesday the request on the discharge of General Florian Coldea.

“We confirm that the President received the request,” President’s Spokesperson Madalina Dobrovolschi pointed out for Agerpres.

 

 

Ion Cristoiu: Florian Coldea leaving SRI is the event of the last 10 years

 

Analyst Ion Cristoiu declared himself shocked by Florian Coldea’s request to be discharged. The famous journalist believes the decision was taken following the talk that Coldea had with President Klaus Iohannis.

“The true event is him vacating the office! Very many troubles will now come. It was an agreement reached with Iohannis as early as back then. The fact that Iohannis summoned him means he negotiated directly with him: ‘A commission will be formed, we’ll see what the commission decides and you’ll resign,’ I believe Iohannis told Coldea. Florian Coldea leaving SRI is the event of the last 10 years,” Ion Cristoiu stated on RomaniaTV.

 

Victor Ciutacu: “His career ends nastily, in dishonouring manner”

 

Journalist Victor Ciutacu had harsh comments on Florian Coldea’s request to be discharged. “The almighty SRI general is leaving in an ugly manner the system he imagined he controls: with suspicions of corruption, moral filth and, devastatingly for a military man, treason,” the journalist wrote on his blog.

“Florian Coldea’s execution continues step by step. Not coordinated by Klaus Iohannis, a sad person who doesn’t understand anything relevant from what is happening around him, but to his benefit. Because he will get rid of the man who made him president against logic, against all evidence, and who, apart from compromising information and the control of courts, which can sweep him from public life, has an overwhelming edge over him. One he has so far not hesitated to use.

“It’s a kind of belated justice for all those who felt the “Coldea effect.” And the only flagrant injustice that could happen would be for the SRI general to be the only one to go down. No, he has to drag down with him Traian Basescu (in whose benefit all the atrocities took place), Codruta Kovesi (his favourite tool for destroying destinies), Livia Stanciu (the perfect executant of the ‘operative field in the judiciary’ plan), all undercover officers among prosecutors, judges and journalists, who are making up the invisible network,” the journalist wrote on his blog.

 

 

Florian Coldea, a controversial general. In 12 years, accused of blackmailing the CCR, interfering in the judiciary

 

Florian Coldea (45) was appointed SIR First Deputy Director in 2005, shortly after the Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq were recovered. Coldea was one of the persons who coordinated the operation, alongside the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE) team. Traian Basescu, the President who appointed him in office, claimed that Coldea stood out during those events. Prior to that, Coldea held leadership positions within the Antiterrorism Brigade.

Two years after his appointment, in 2007, during the bid to impeach President Traian Basescu, Mircea Geoana revealed two intelligence notes about three Constitutional Court judges. PSD President at the time, Geoana accused Florian Coldea of seeking to blackmail the judges in order for them to pass a favourable ruling for Traian Basescu. Prior to the levying of those accusations, information according to which Constitutional Court judges were vulnerable to blackmail and SRI had data in this regard had publicly appeared. The contents of the notes presented by Geoana was revealed to the press, the notes representing the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS) report on the judges’ links with the former Securitate. Subsequently, a parliamentary commission carried out an inquiry. Coldea was suspended from office for the duration of that inquiry. The conclusions were that SRI did not engage in political police and Coldea was reinstated several months later.

After finishing his second presidential term, Basescu became a staunch opponent of Florian Coldea and Codruta Kovesi, complaining that the intelligence services are interfering in the judiciary, after Alina Bica and Elena Udrea were arrested in cases handled by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).

In 2015, Elena Udrea claimed that Florian Coldea was behind the cases in which she was investigated, and also accused the DNA Chief Prosecutor of opening cases at the intelligence services’ orders. Udrea also filed a denunciation against Coldea, claiming that her ex-husband Dorin Cocos told her that at Florian Coldea’s request he gave Sebastian Ghita EUR 500,000 to finance his television station. The case was closed.

Subsequently, Alina Bica and Traian Basescu joined Elena Udrea in criticising Coldea and accusing him of intervening in the act of justice.

At the end of 2016, former Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Director Alina Bica stated that SRI First Deputy Director Florian Coldea allegedly showed interest in the Tender Case at the end of 2013, telling her that Ovidiu Tender is an important pawn and showing her a note on his identity.

“He said this man represents some things and we cannot take him out. At one point, he said I don’t understand the national interest now just as I didn’t understand it in 2005 either, and things won’t end well for me,” Alina Bica said.

Florian Coldea was also mentioned in the plagiarised doctoral theses scandal, the coordinator of his own doctoral thesis being Gabriel Oprea. The latter lost his Ph.D. title following a CNATDCU decision.

The most recent scandal is the one in which Sebastian Ghita accuses Coldea of getting involved in political appointments and in the judiciary, revealing photographs and video recordings showing them and their families and pointing out they were friends. Following the revelations, Florian Coldea was verified by his SRI colleagues, being suspended for the duration of the proceedings.

In 2008, Florian Coldea was promoted to brigadier general. In 2012, he was promoted to major general, and in 2014 to lieutenant general. Prior to his appointment as SRI First Deputy Director, he held various leadership positions within SRI’s Inspectorate for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism.

 

Kovesi denies the accusation made by Ghita and Basescu and speaks about the relationship between DNA and SRI: They try to destabilize the judiciary. I don’t have reasons to resign

 

I have never participated at private events with Sebastian Ghita, I have never spoke by the phone with Sebastian Ghita, I haven’t sent him e-mails, I have never participated at other events than the ones organized by heads of institutions or by public institutions. I don’t have reasons to resign. I did and I will continue to do my job, stated the Chief-Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi, in an interview for ziare.com.

(…) Hundreds of thousands of Euros, even one million Euros have been spent for anti-DNA campaigns, harassment, intimidation, denigration campaigns”, Kovesi claims.

DNA Chief-Prosecutor has strongly rejected the accusation that the files could be rigged or the prosecutors would have acted according to certain orders: “I was never called by anyone to say to me: you have to open or to close this file”.

Regarding the relationship with Sebastian Ghita and her participation with him at parties or other events, DNA chief claims that “Usually I don’t mention about how I meet people through my duties. I recall a statement that I made last year: I wasn’t, I am not and I will not be a friend of Ghita Sebastian, of the defendant Ghita Sebastian. I don’t want to get into dialogue with a fugitive defendant, but since these assertions exist in the public space, I will answer to them. In my institutional capacity, I was invited to certain events organized by heads of institutions or by the institutions with whom I was collaborating in our activity, and on this occasion I met Sebastian Ghita. At these kind of events. I have never participated at private events with Sebastian Ghita, I have never spoke by the phone with Sebastian Ghita, I have never sent him e-mails and I have never participated at other events than those organized by heads of institutions or by public institutions, where I cannot censor the guest list, events where other persons have also been present.”

Regarding the famous “meeting in the vineyard” invoked by Sebastian Ghita and confirmed by Victor Ponta, the head of DNA insists that “I have never had private meetings with Sebastian Ghita or private talks with Sebastian Ghita”.

As for the possible occurrence of photos or video files with her with Sebastian Ghita, Laura Codruta Kovesi claims that “I have never been in holidays with Sebastian Ghita, I have never spent spare time with Sebastian Ghita. Rigged or edited pictures, rigged or edited videos can occur anytime, as they occurred until now, too… It’s obvious that they try a manipulation to make people forget how many files have been made to this defendant, how many damages he caused to the state and that he’s a fugitive defendant. It’s just a manipulation that covers true things with false things”.

“I have never participated at private events with Sebastian Ghita, I have never participated at events organized by him. There are cases when, by participating to events whose guest list I cannot censor, I meet defendant persons, persons who were involved in DNA files or who were investigated later. But this is not a reason to consider me a friend of these persons” the head of DNA also stated.

 

Ziare.com: Mr. Ghita and Mr. Basescu claim that DNA and SRI were rigging files, deciding who dies and who lives, as Alina Bica stated. A “black binomial” that…

 

“… that bothered. It caught the defendants. The purpose of the institutions is to work together. I don’t believe that a public institution should stay closed, people talk only between them, that all of us should be autistic, that we’re not allowed to talk one with another. The role of the institutions is to cooperate in order to prevent and fight against criminal phenomena, to catch the defendants when they commit crimes” Kovesi stated.

 

Ziare.com: They claim that it went too far, to rigged files.

 

“I’m not making comments on what defendants say. Many people are bothered by DNA, they are upset that we caught them. This doesn’t mean that everything they say is true. DNA’s relationship of cooperation with SRI, with the other state institutions, respected the law, based on a concluded protocol.

Files have been instrumented by DNA prosecutors, according to the law, SRI sent us notifications when they come into possession of some information related corruption deeds committed.

Also according to the law, certain measures of technical surveillance, wiretaps and monitoring were done through SRI.

Last year, CCR gave a decision by which it limited the possibility of the judicial bodies to implement measures of technical surveillance through SRI. We respect the decision and the law is in force”, Kovesi added.

Asked if she ever felt any pressure from General Coldea regarding certain files, any blocking, to stop or to speed up the prosecution, as Alina Bica claims that she felt at DIICOT, the head of DNA said “never”.

“No. There was no head of institution, no person in any position in the Romanian state to whom I spoke, who told me such a thing. I have always said that if such pressures will be made on me, I will reveal them.

Any prosecutor on whom interferences are made, can notify CSM. There are levers for this. I was never called by anyone telling me: you have to open or close this file” the head of DNA also said.

Robert Chirita

 

Related posts

PSD Deputy, PNL mayor undergo hearings in Nicolescu case

Test

Double budget for Bucharest if district mayor’s offices scrapped

Test

PM Ponta about the offer of residences sent by RA-APPS to Basescu: He is a really finicky customer

Nine O' Clock