JUSTICE

Bute Boxing Gala Case: Elena Udrea sentenced to six years in prison. Ex-minister forced to pay damages of RON 8.1 million to ANT and EUR 900,000 to two witnesses. Court seizes RON 1 million from her assets

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sentenced Elena Udrea to six years in prison and the payment of RON 8.1 million to the National Tourism Authority (ANT), as well as EUR 900,000 to two witnesses. At the same time, the court ruled the seizure of approximately RON 1 million from the assets of the former Tourism and Development Minister.

“It hereby forces defendant Udrea Elena Gabriela to the payment of RON 8,116,800 in damages to plaintiff National Tourism Authority. In line with Article 254, paragraph 3 of the 1969 Criminal Code, it seizes from defendant Udrea Elena Gabriela, for the use of the state, the sums of RON 695,367 and RON 296,076. Based on Article 255, paragraphs 3 and 5 of the 1969 Criminal Code, it forces defendant Udrea Elena Gabriela to pay back the RON-equivalent of EUR 600,000 to witness Boian Corin, and the RON-equivalent of EUR 300,000 to witness Gardean Adrian,” the court decision reads.

At the same time, Udrea has to cover court costs of RON 20,000, just like Rudel Obreja. Except for Ion Ariton, the other defendants have to cover court costs of RON 15,000.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sentenced former Regional Development Minister Elena Udrea to six years in prison for passive bribery and abuse of office, executory sentence, but acquitted her of the charge of attempted use of false or incomplete statements.

The ruling is not final and can be challenged at the five-judge panel of the High Court of Cassation and Justice.

Udrea was sentenced to five years in prison for passive bribery, four years in prison for another count of passive bribery, six years in prison for a third count of passive bribery and six years in prison for abuse of office. High Court of Cassation and Justice judges ruled, after the sentences were merged, that Udrea should serve a sentence of six years in prison.

The court also ruled to acquit Elena Udrea of the charges of attempted use of false or incomplete statements.

Rudel Obreja, former President of the Romanian Boxing Federation, was sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion. The court noted that the guilty act is concurrent with the one for which Obreja was already sentenced by the Bucharest Court, merged the sentences and ruled that Obreja should serve a sentence of five years in prison. At the same time, the court ruled that the sum of RON 3 million should be seized from Rudel Obreja’s assets.

Gheorghe Nastasia, former secretary general within the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry (MDRT), was sentenced to four years in prison, suspended sentence.

Ana Maria Topoliceanu, former director of the National Investment Company, was sentenced to three years in prison for passive bribery, suspended sentence.

Ex-Economy Minister Ion Ariton was acquitted.

Stefan Lungu, Elena Udrea’s former adviser, was sentenced to one and a half years in prison, suspended sentence.

Tudor Breazu, Elena Udrea’s former personal assistant, was sentenced to three years in prison for complicity to passive bribery, executory sentence.

The court also sentenced businessman Dragos Botoroaga to two and a half years in prison, suspended sentence.

The “Bute Boxing Gala” case ended up at the Supreme Court in April 2015, the charges consisting of passive and active bribery, abuse of office, complicity to passive bribery, tax evasion and money laundering.

In their indictment, prosecutors pointed out that a service contract was signed on 24 June 2011 – awarded by way of negotiation, in the absence of a tender announcement – between the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry (MDRT) and SC Europlus Computers SRL, Rudel Obreja’s company. Its purpose was the rendering of advertisement services at the events occasioned by the international professional boxing gala organised by the Romanian Boxing Federation.

Based on this contract, on 1 February 2012, the MDRT paid RON 8,116,800 for the advertisement services.

“The public funds were used in an illegal manner, namely the financing of a sports event organised by a commercial company, and the sum paid on the basis of the contract fully represents damage incurred to the ministry’s assets. The closing of the contract in fact sought the securing of the funds needed to organise the aforementioned boxing gala, and the procurement of advertisement services represented solely a formal justification, the ministry having no actual need for it, with the sole purpose of giving an appearance of legality to the contract. Moreover, the contract was awarded in violation of public procurement procedures, and services that were not among expenditures eligible for programmes financed from European grants were purchased,” according to the prosecutors.

Investigators claimed that Elena Udrea had the most important contribution to the committing of these crimes and to their results, since she took the decision to organise the boxing gala following informal talks with Rudel Obreja, she played a determinant role in the adoption of the legislative acts that created the framework for the financing of the event, she repeatedly asked her subordinates to meet Obreja in order to identify solutions for the signing of the contract and she was directly involved in establishing the budget that the MDRT was to earmark outside the framework regulated by public procurement procedures.

 

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