Former Regional Development and Tourism Minister Elena Udrea stated on Tuesday, after the court of first instance sentenced her to six years in prison for passive bribery and abuse of office in the “Bute Boxing Gala” case, that the decision is abusive and “it seems that even today there are judges who tremble before the system that Kovesi represents.”
“My case started two years ago, when, how to put this, when nobody dared dispute accusations levelled by Ms Kovesi at the time. Unfortunately for me, it seems even today there are judges who tremble before the system – or what is left of it, it’s one-legged, weak – that primarily Ms Kovesi represents. (…) If Ms Kovesi was afraid to accuse me when she was sitting at the table with me, should we believe her now, when she is accusing me because Mr Iohannis came to power or because another regime is in power?” Elena Udrea stated for Antena3 private television broadcaster.
The former Tourism Minister called the High Court of Cassation and Justice magistrates’ decision, to sentence her to six years in prison in the “Bute Boxing Gala” case, an abusive decision.
“I consider that this decision is abusive, that it’s a temporary victory for the system. After hearing over 50 witnesses, absolutely all of them contradicting the two lying statements made by the denouncers and absolutely all [of their statements] being in my favour, to pass these rulings… it’s as if you ignore two years of trial. They could have convicted me just as well as early as 2015, without this circus that lasted two years. The fact that I’m being asked to pay the counter value of promoting Romania at the Bute Gala… How come, wasn’t Romania promoted, for at least a minute, via the Bute Gala?” Elena Udrea stated, Mediafax informs.
“The signal is clear at this moment. Rat out at the DNA and get away scot-free. Basescu: Coldea described the ministry’s corruption in 2010”
On Tuesday evening, Elena Udrea told RomaniaTV private television broadcaster that the signal given at this moment is very clear. “Rat out at the DNA and get away scot-free,” this was the ex-minister’s conclusion following the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I’m not saying this ruling is unjust. It’s an abuse. The same sentence could have been ruled as early as February 2015. For two years, 67 witnesses were heard, and none of them accused me of anything. They all contradicted the two denouncers,” Elena Udrea started her defence on RomaniaTV.
Elena Udrea said the denouncers received suspended sentences. “This aberration was reached, for Nastasia to receive four years, suspended sentence. Those who gave statements against me received suspended sentences. For complicity, the judges ruled four years, suspended sentence, while sentencing Tudor Breazu to three years, executory sentence. Those who did give statements against me received executory sentences.”
“The signal is clear for everyone. Rat out, reach a deal with the DNA and get away scot-free. Or get away without paying any damages”
In this case, I’m the only one asked to pay damages. Nastasia doesn’t have to pay any damages, same goes for Lungu, for Topoliceanu. The active briber has no capacity in the case file. The DNA’s whole construct is based on Gardean’s statement. They disjoined the case file and the active briber is not on trial, not even today. He’s a witness in this case,” the former official stated.
The ex-minister pointed out she is held liable for the entire counter value of promoting Romania. “Why are all the sums from the Bute Gala – the whole counter value of promoting Romania – laid at my door, was there no kind of PR benefit in Romania’s favour? How could you lay at my door the counter value of promoting Romania?” Elena Udrea rhetorically asked.
“General Coldea gave the signal”
Elena Udrea revealed that General Coldea, former Deputy Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), met Sebastian Ghita to reproach him for having offered her certain details: “Florian Coldea sent Sebastian Ghita to Dorin Cocos’s detention cell to assure the latter that everything will be all right. In the Bute Gala case, my arrest was requested after five years in which I wasn’t asked anything.”
“There were 6 charges against me in this case file. Before the last court hearing, I had to read my case file and I noticed a discrepancy in the last charge: attempted embezzlement of European grants. The attempt occurred through an act dated February 2012. But I had stopped being a minister on February 7. I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better to leave the error be, it would have been even more obvious that this is an execution,” the ex-minister added.
Elena Udrea pointed out this is a life and death battle. “I don’t accept going to prison for crimes proven by nothing. There is still an appeal in which I’ll no longer use the strategy of not discomfiting the court. I have a lot of information on judges that ended up there with Mr Coldea’s backing. I’ll get this topic ready. If you ask me whether I filmed or recorded Coldea, I’ll tell you I didn’t, but there are other people who can confirm what I said.”
Elena Udrea admitted that in 2010 she stated that “if there have to be collateral victims for the success of the fight against corruption, then so be it.” “I thought justice will be served until I saw abuses. In order to combat this phenomenon, which I also took to be the most serious in Romania, I said that it’s better even for an innocent person to fall [victim]; now I’m paying for this. The system is obedient to the one who appoints it in office and maintains it there.”
Elena Udrea does not know whether the Justice Minister will still have the courage to criticise the DNA’s Chief Prosecutor following this decision.
“Laura Codruta Kovesi reached a deal with PSD and closed the Revolution case, to enjoy support at the CSM.”
Elena Udrea revealed that she knows how the decision was reached in Adrian Nastase latest legal case. There were notes from Mr Maior and Mr Florian Coldea.
Traian Basescu on Elena Udrea’s case
“Firstly, I want to offer some clarifications. Basescu was not the one who sent Voiculescu and Nastase to jail. Tomorrow I’ll show you how Voiculescu was laundering money via two journalists. In what concerns Nastase’s case file, which was on my office, there is Sechelariu’s statement against him, there is the consul’s statement that he gave him 500,000 dollars. It’s clear how the money circulated. Show me how the money circulated from Nastasia to Udrea. I’ll show you the money laundering Voiculescu was engaged in.”
Elena Udrea and Traian Basescu revealed that in 2010 the SRI, via Coldea, provided information on the entire corruption ring existing within the ministry led by Elena Udrea.
“When I had reports from the SRI, I’d look at the end and see that they were sent to the minister too and I’d no longer warn the Government’s representatives. If I saw that the report is only for me, then I thought it was my obligation to warn them. On that occasion, I warned Elena Udrea about the practices within her ministry. It was a laborious nationwide report. There were Development Ministry practices that concerned kickbacks. That report hadn’t been sent to the minister too, consequently I summoned the minister to warn her. In it, one could see the entire corruption infrastructure belonging to secretary general Stefan Lungu. The entire corruption ring was known. It was a shock to see Udrea accused and indicted when I had different information from Coldea and the SRI. Their source of financing was disjoined from the case. Although the source of the money was known, the corruption supplier was disjoined,” Traian Basescu emphasised.
“I was expecting an acquittal. Udrea was the target of this case”
Ex-President Traian Basescu told RomaniaTV on Tuesday evening that he was expecting Elena Udrea to receive an acquittal in the Bute Boxing Gala case.
“Knowing the case file, I was expecting an acquittal. I have a different explanation. I notice all denouncers received suspended sentences. There is no other evidence apart from the denouncers’ statements. I also notice she was sentenced for all counts, except one, namely the one when during the last court hearing it was discovered she wasn’t incumbent minister at the time, hence that count was rejected. I find it very hard to understand – I’m an engineer – how a minister can commit abuse of office when it comes to public procurements, while nobody from the department for procurements is charged, there is no other person charged with abuse of office for the purchase of advertisement at the Bute Gala. During the trial, the ministry’s director of procurement stated he takes responsibility for the purchase, which was done correctly,” Traian Basescu pointed out.
The ex-President has a single explanation for the magistrates’ decision. “Udrea and nobody else was the target of this case. If you look at how the punishments were distributed, anyone who filed a denunciation against Elena Udrea received suspended sentence. I don’t know for what reasons, but I can’t help but notice that very many people from my entourage ended up having legal cases during and after I finished my term in office.”
Traian Basescu considers that Elena Udrea has the obligation to continue fighting. “What happened, I find it unjust. We’ll live and see.”
The ex-President emphasised that he will not use the recordings made in his presidential office. “The President’s office is a sacred place. It’s a principle. What happens in your presidential office is for you to recall in your memories. You’ll never compromise the office of President by reproducing talks that took place in the presidential office.”