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March 23, 2023

Court postpones for July 18 decision on Dan Voiculescu’s parole request

Lawyer: He has no money available apart from his pension. It’s ANAF’s fault for not managing to sell at least one asset from among those seized


On Tuesday, the Bucharest Court postponed, for July 18, its ruling on the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) appeal against the decision to release Dan Voiculescu on parole. Dan Voiculescu was convicted to 10 years in prison for the fraudulent privatisation of the Food Research Institute (ICA). His lawyer claimed that the businessman has not paid any damages because his assets have been seized and the Romanian Tax Authority (ANAF) has not sold any of them to recover the damage.

During the court hearing, the DNA prosecutor pointed out that Dan Voiculescu did not offer thorough proof he is reformed following his conviction.

“The inmate does not meet the conditions for parole. He has won 57 days by working and 330 days by authoring scientific papers. It’s an obvious disproportion. His behaviour also arises from the conclusions of the penitentiary’s [parole] commission, which pointed out he does not meet the conditions and that the purpose of the punishment has not been reached. The substantiation of the District 5 Court ruling (in favour of release on parole – editor’s note) made no mention of the conclusions of the penitentiary’s commission. The court did not substantiate the disregarding of the conclusions of the penitentiary commission which issued a negative report in what concerns the release on parole,” the DNA prosecutor pointed out, adding that during his time in prison Dan Voiculescu did not have “a meritorious conduct but a normal one.” “The inmate did not pay the damages, he did not even pay the court expenses,” the prosecutor added.

In response, Voiculescu’s lawyer pointed out that the DNA’s appeal is groundless.

“A conviction ruling is not possible after an acquittal ruling. The penitentiary’s non-commissioned officers are the ones who observe the inmate’s behaviour, not the penitentiary’s commission. (…) The behaviour of the accused arises from his supervisors’ references, included in the dossier. He was rewarded 12 times. This is proof of reformation. He maintained non-conflictual relations with the other inmates. He won 1,800 credits and was selected to clean the inner yard. He took part in the training programme for life outside prison,” Voiculescu’s defender pointed out.

In what concerns his failure to pay the damages, the lawyer claimed it is ANAF’s fault for failing to sell, in a period of three years, a single asset from those seized after Voiculescu was convicted.

“His entire fortune is under distraint. He doesn’t have money, except for his pension. ANAF is yet to carry out the conviction ruling. Had they sold them, the damages would have been covered. The state has it at its disposal but isn’t doing it. Dan Voiculescu is a 71-year-old man tormented by detention. He also has a series of medical problems that I ask you we keep confidential. What’s certain is that his health hasn’t improved,” lawyer Florian Surghie pointed out.

Bucharest Court Judge Iosefina Parvu announced she will make a ruling in this case on July 18, her decision being final.

On June 8, the District 5 Court ruled that Dan Voiculescu can be released on parole. Prosecutors appealed against the ruling. The District 5 Court argued its decision by pointing out that Voiculescu showed “steadfastness in work” by taking part in labour and intellectual activities, behaved exemplarily, in line with institutional norms, showed a respectful attitude toward the penitentiary’s personnel, constantly took part in educational activities, held a lecture titled ‘States of mind, emotions and human behaviour’ and was rewarded on several occasions by having his right to receive packages and visits hiked.

Judges pointed out that, by May 24, Dan Voiculescu had served a total of 1,408 days out of the 3,653 days in prison he had to serve after he was convicted in the ICA dossier, a level surpassing the minimum threshold of 1,217 days representing a third of his sentence. Of those 1,408 days, 387 were considered served as a reward for the work carried out and the authoring of scientific papers.

Likewise, judges talked about his “steadfastness in work,” both by taking part in cleaning and by authoring 11 scientific papers.

Moreover, judges pointed out disciplinary sanctions were never issued against Voiculescu, who showed “exemplary behaviour, befitting institutional norms” and who constantly took part in educational activities, receiving several rewards as a result.

The substantiation of the decision also points out Dan Voiculescu won 1,882 credits, taking part in 48 educational programmes within the penitentiary, credits that are sufficient to prove the reformation of his behaviour.

Dan Voiculescu’s parole dossier was analysed by the Rahova Penitentiary’s Parole Commission. On May 22, the commission issued a negative report, pointing out that “the purpose of the punishment ruled against Dan Voiculescu hasn’t been achieved” so that the release on parole should be postponed.

The businessman had previously lodged another parole request, which the Bucharest Court rejected on January 10, deciding, in a final ruling, that he can file a new request after May 24. Back then, the court decided that Dan Voiculescu cannot be released on parole, but shortened by four months the deadline on which a new parole request can be filed.

Since 8 August 2014, Dan Voiculescu has been serving a 10-year prison sentence he received in the dossier concerning the fraudulent privatisation of the Food Research Institute (ICA). In the same dossier, former ICA Director Gheorghe Mencinicopshi 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 Mencinicopshi was released on parole on September 26, after he served two years in prison.

After he was jailed, Dan Voiculescu wrote 11 books in less than 18 months.


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