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June 25, 2022

Court rejects Vasile Blaga’s challenge and decides to start trial in case in which he is accused of committing influence peddling to illegally finance PDL

The trial of the dossier in which Vasile Blaga is accused of committing influence peddling to illegally finance PDL in 2011-2012 will start at the Bucharest Court, after the Court of Appeals definitively rejected all requests lodged and exceptions raised by the former Democrat-Liberal leader.

Vasile Blaga’s dossier reached the Bucharest Court in January, being analysed in a preliminary chamber procedure.

The preliminary chamber judge decided, on February 20, that the trial can start in this case, rejecting all requests lodged and exceptions raised by Blaga’s lawyer and establishing the legality of the evidence and of the criminal probe carried out by DNA Ploiesti prosecutors.

Vasile Blaga challenged the decision at the Bucharest Court of Appeals. The latter issued its final ruling on Wednesday, deciding that the trial can proceed.

“Rejects, as groundless, the challenge lodged by defendant Blaga Vasile against the decision adopted on 20.02.2017 by the preliminary chamber judge in dossier no.1240/3/2017/a1 of the Bucharest Court, 1st Penal Section,” reads the decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeals.

The Bucharest Court will establish the date on which the trial will start.

In the dossier concerning the illegal financing of PDL, DNA Ploiesti prosecutors indicted former PNL Co-President Vasile Blaga on 28 November 2016, accusing him of influence peddling. Prosecutors argue that, while he was PDL Secretary General and Senator during the 2011-2012 period, he allegedly received, via a middleman, in four instalments, 700,000 euro from former Piatra Neamt Mayor Gheorghe Stefan.

The dossier was sent to the Supreme Court which decided, in January 2017, that Vasile Blaga should be tried by the Bucharest Court, since he is no longer lawmaker.

Blaga resigned from his office as PNL Co-President as soon as DNA prosecutors started their criminal probe against him.

DNA Ploiesti prosecutors pointed out in their indictment that the money that PDL received as a result of the agreements between Blaga, Gheorghe Stefan and businessman Horatiu Bruno Berdila were taken out through “ghost” companies whose administrators – witnesses in this case – were receiving kickbacks ranging from 200 to 1,500 lei.

In this case, DNA investigators identified several “ghost” companies used to take out the money received from the contract signed by a national energy company and Romsys, so that the sums, which total 10 million lei, would go to PDL.

According to some judicial sources, Transelectrica was one of the companies that signed such contracts. Its CEO had been appointed at the time by order of Economy Minister Adriean Videanu. The former mayor of Piatra Neamt was the one who set up the whole mechanism that saw over two million euro entering the party’s coffers. He was also the one who found the companies that subcontracted, on paper, the services stipulated by those contracts and that withdraw the money from the banks.

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