Businessman Dan Voiculescu, convicted to ten years in prison in the dossier concerning the fraudulent privatisation of the Food Research Institute (ICA), will be released on parole, Bucharest Court magistrates decided on Tuesday. The decision is final.
Bucharest Court magistrates thus rejected the prosecutors’ appeal against the release on parole decision adopted by the District 5 Court.
“Rejects the appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office. Rules the immediate release,” reads the decision adopted by Bucharest Court magistrates.
Dan Voiculescu was hospitalised last Friday, under guard, at the Bucharest University Hospital. Medical sources told News.ro that he was about to undergo surgery for intestinal obstruction.
On Monday evening, medical sources told News.ro that the surgery no longer took place because the businessman responded well to the treatment. The same sources stated that Dan Voiculescu could be discharged on Tuesday, a decision that had not been taken by the time this edition went to print.
Hospital representatives stated for News.ro that Dan Voiculescu will be able to leave the hospital the moment the hospital officially receives the court’s decision and the guard will be pulled out.
The same sources stated that the results of medical investigations carried out on Tuesday at noon were still pending.
On the other hand, Florin Surghie, Dan Voiculescu’s lawyer, stated for News.ro that if his health allows it, his client will be transferred to the penitentiary, the legal procedures will be carried out and he will be released.
The Bucharest Court tried a week ago Dan Voiculescu’s request to be released on parole, his lawyer claiming that the businessman did not pay the damage because his assets are seized but ANAF has not sold any of them to recover the damage.
During the trial, the DNA prosecutor pointed out that Dan Voiculescu did not offer substantial evidence of being reformed.
“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.
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.
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.
Dan Voiculescu: Three years of my life were stolen. Nobody gives back these three years, even if Basescu goes to prison
Businessman Dan Voiculescu, who has been serving, since 8 August 2014, a ten-year prison sentence received in the dossier concerning the fraudulent privatisation of the Food Research Institute, stated on Tuesday afternoon, after the court decided to release him on parole, that three years of his life were stolen, years that nobody could give back even if Traian Basescu were to go to prison. He added that for three years he lived in “an aquarium.”
Voiculescu made the statements on Tuesday afternoon, when leaving the University Hospital where he was hospitalised last Friday.
“Three years of my life have been stolen. Nobody gives back these three years, even if Basescu goes to prison. While in prison, I had two special, profound feelings that stood out. The first feeling was painful eyelids, because I was keeping my eyes closed for more than half a day. I created a sort of aquarium for myself, in which I tried and I managed to live. I lived three years in an aquarium,” Dan Voiculescu stated.
He said the second feeling he had during this time was that of regret: “The regret that 12 families had to suffer because of me. People that were involved in this trial so that I could be sent to prison.”
Voiculescu asked journalists to close their eyes so “I can teleport myself to the penitentiary gate.”