Dan Voiculescu can be released on parole, court rules; ruling is not final

Businessman Dan Voiculescu, sentenced to ten years in prison in the ICA case, can be released on parole, the District 5 Court ruled on Thursday. The court ruling is not final.

The ruling can be challenged within three days, at the Bucharest Court.

During the court hearing on Thursday morning, Voiculescu’s lawyer claimed that a final court ruling issued in January established that the businessman can be released after six months, not in October 2017 as claimed by the DNA prosecutor and the Rahova Penitentiary’s Parole Commission. The lawyer also claimed that Dan Voiculescu showed “perseverance in work” in the penitentiary and that the businessman “needs no reform because he has solid education.” On the other hand, the DNA prosecutor stated Voiculescu managed to get his prison sentence lowered by only 57 days through labour, the difference of more than 300 days shaved off his sentence being the result of him authoring scientific papers for which there is no evidence they were written in the penitentiary.

Dan Voiculescu lodged with the court a request to be tried in absentia and a memo explaining the request.

“Voiculescu had no disciplinary punishments and showed perseverance in work. The Commission says serving 1,021 days is far too little. But it’s Mr Voiculescu’s right to parole. The Commission’s report has no relevance. Dan Voiculescu served a third of his sentence and surpassed that by 8 months, including the days earned by labour and those earned by writing the 11 scientific papers. We’ve lodged documents on Voiculescu’s health. He has the right to parole. He needs no reform because he has solid education,” Voiculescu’s lawyer added.

In response, the DNA prosecutor asked for the rejection of the parole request, arguing that Voiculescu would not have served a third of his prison sentence if it were not for the 11 scientific papers. “The convict earned only 57 days through labour, the difference of more than 300 days being earned by authoring scientific papers. He didn’t show fairness. There is no proof the manuscripts were written in the penitentiary. He’s taking advantage of legal loopholes. Serving only a quarter of the sentence shows that the purpose of the sentence hasn’t been attained. The damage hasn’t been paid to the Agriculture Ministry. He hasn’t even paid the court expenses. The conclusion of the penitentiary commission is unanimous rejection. The Commission has recommended the new [parole] request deadline for October 2017,” the prosecutor pointed out.

Dan Voiculescu’s parole dossier was analysed by the Rahova Penitentiary’s Parole Commission. According to judicial sources, the Commission issued a negative report on May 22nd, pointing out that “the goal of the sentence hasn’t been attained in Dan Voiculescu’s case” so that the postponement of the parole is called for.

In a final ruling on January 10th, the Bucharest Court rejected businessman Dan Voiculescu’s parole and decided that he can file a new request after May 24th. The court ruled that Dan Voiculescu cannot be released on parole but shortened by four months the period after which he can file a new request.

In the court of first instance, the District 5 Court rejected Dan Voiculescu’s request, on 13 December 2016, and decided that he could file a new parole request in September 2017. In his reasoning, the judge pointed out that Dan Voiculescu took advantage of legal loopholes to lower his sentence and gave the example of 60 days shaved off his prison sentence by him authoring two papers on which he worked four hours.

Voiculescu is serving, since 8 August 2014, a ten-year prison sentence he received in the case concerning the fraudulent privatisation of the Food Research Institute (ICA). In the same case, former ICA Director Gheorghe Mencinicopschi was sentenced to 8 years in prison, former ADS Director Corneliu Popa was sentenced to 8 years in prison, and former Communications Minister Sorin Pantis was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Gheorghe Mencinicopschi was released on parole on September 26th, after he served two years of his prison sentence.

Dan Voiculescu must serve at least a third of the ten-year sentence he received before he can be liable for parole. So far, Voiculescu has spent two years and nine months in prison, but his involvement in penitentiary activity has seen his prison sentence lowered.

After he went to jail, Dan Voiculescu wrote eleven books in less than 18 months.

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