DNA Ploiesti prosecutors have asked the courts to issue new arrest warrants on ex-lawmaker Sebastian Ghita’s name, in two corruption cases in which he is investigated and in which arrest warrants were not issued or investigators did not demand the issuance of arrest warrants on his name, namely the case concerning the visit that former British Premier Tony Blair paid to Romania and the case in which Ghita is investigated alongside Iulian Cristian Hertanu, ex-Premier Victor Ponta’s brother-in-law, judicial sources told News.ro.
Thus, DNA prosecutors have lodged with the High Court of Cassation and Justice a request for a pre-trial arrest warrant on Ghita’s name in the case concerning the visit that former British Premier Tony Blair paid to Romania, case in which Ghita and ex-Premier Victor Ponta are being criminally prosecuted for corruption.
At the same time, DNA prosecutors have asked the Prahova Court to issue an arrest warrant on Sebastian Ghita’s name in the case in which he is investigated alongside Iulian Cristian Hertanu – Victor Ponta’s brother-in-law –, former Prahova County Chairman Mircea Cosma and former PSD Lower Chamber lawmaker Vlad Cosma.
On Monday, DNA prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to issue a pre-trial arrest warrant on Sebastian Ghita’s name in the case in which he is indicted alongside former Ploiesti Mayor Iulian Badescu, to whom he allegedly offered a house in order for him to sponsor a basketball team with local budget funds.
Pre-trial arrest warrants on Sebastian Ghita’s name were previously issued in two other cases in which the former Lower Chamber lawmaker is probed for corruption. Thus, on January 10, the Supreme Court issued a pre-trial arrest warrant on his name, in absentia, in the case in which he is indicted for corruption alongside police chiefs and heads of prosecutor’s offices from Prahova County. The former lawmaker was also placed on Interpol’s list of most-wanted persons.
Sebastian Ghita has another pre-trial arrest warrant on his name, issued by the Ploiesti Court of Appeals in the case in which he is probed for influence peddling, money laundering and setting up an organised crime ring, namely for asking for and receiving money from the representatives of Teamnet International and Asesoft International in return for prompting some institutions and public authorities to award them public contracts for IT services.
JusMin: Ghita’s extradition documents sent to Serbia on Wednesday
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Thursday that all documents needed for the extradition of ex-lawmaker Sebastian Ghita were sent to the Serbian Justice Ministry on Wednesday, and Romanian authorities implemented the procedure of extending the period for the transmission of the necessary documents, procedure stipulated in the treaty with that country.
Toader pointed out that the translated documents have more than 400 pages and the extension of Ghita’s period of detention was requested only as a precautionary measure.
“It’s an ordinary procedure, article 16 of the Treaty stipulates the possibility to extend from 18 to 40 days, in the idea of preventing the possibility of going over the deadline and the release of those who are in that situation. A precautionary measure we sent long ago, the Supreme Court approved it. We’ve sent all documents to the Serbian Justice Ministry. There are 475 pages. The documents were translated in time, at a very sustained pace, and were lodged with the Serbian Justice Ministry. From this moment on – I mean from 1.30 p.m. yesterday – the Romanian Justice Ministry has fulfilled its obligations,” Minister Toader stated on Thursday.
The Justice Minister emphasised that Romanian authorities did their job and from now on everything depends on the Serbian side.
Asked by journalists how long the extradition process might take, he made no comment.
At the same time, the minister pointed out that the documentation in this case is currently complete.
Asked when he sent the document that asked for the extension of the period in which Sebastian Ghita’s extradition could be demanded, Toader answered: “Three days ago.”
Serbia’s Supreme Court has extended, at Romania’s request, the 18-day period for the transmission of the extradition request for Sebastian Ghita. The latter was detained in Belgrade on April 14, on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Romanian authorities. Court Spokesperson Bojana Stankovic stated for Tanjung on Wednesday that the detention period can be extended up to 40 days as part of preliminary procedures.
Two court decisions were issued immediately after Ghita was detained: one on two-month detention and another on 18-day detention.
The Serbian press announced that Ghita and his lawyer did not appeal against the judges’ decisions.
The Justice Ministry announced last Friday that it received the documents from the courts that had issued the pre-trial arrest warrants on Sebastian Ghita’s name, adding that the extradition request and the accompanying documents set to be transmitted to Serbian authorities once they are translated.