The trial on merits in which Vasile Blaga is judged for influence peddling in the case of the illegal financing of PDL in the 2011-2012 period, being accused of receiving, through interposed persons, EUR 700,000 from the former Mayor of Piatra Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan, started at the Bucharest Tribunal, where the former PDL leader claimed on Wednesday that all the accusations brought to him are “SF constructions” and the statements of the witnesses and of the defendants are contradictory. Vasile Blaga also claimed he didn’t receive “any cent” and that he doesn’t even know businessman Horatiu Berdila, for which he allegedly committed influence peddling.
Vasile Blaga told the magistrates that he had no connection with the appointments at the leadership of Teletrans and Transelectrica, since these appointments were made during Adriean Videanu’s term as a minister.
He also stated that “he didn’t work best” with the former Mayor Gheorghe Stefan, former PDL Vice Chairman, and that he doesn’t know businessman Horatiu Berdila.
“I didn’t receive any money. I mention that I know Stefan Gheorghe, former PDL Vice Chairman in the period to which the investigation refers. I don’t know Horatiu Berdila. I haven’t heard about any company he owns. How could I commit influence peddling for Berdila, whom I do not know? (…) I didn’t receive any cent, either from Stefan or from Dan Grigoriu. I didn’t work best with Gheorghe Stefan”, said the former PDL Secretary General of the period 1997-2011 in front of the Court.
The former PDL leader also claimed that the statements made in this case by Gheorghe Stefan are contradictory.
“How can I believe Gheorghe Stefan that he didn’t know Sanda Dean, former secretary of Basescu and Boc? She was working there since 2000. They say they put the money in my office. Sanda Dean didn’t work in Modrogan for one second. I didn’t have an office in 22 Modrogan since 2008. I was sporadically coming to that building. I wasn’t the head of the 2009 campaign. Gheorghe Flutur was the head. In 2012, Stefan says he gave the money to Dan Grigoriu, who gave it to Sanda Dean? I am talking of the amount of EUR 500,000. There are only contradictions in their statements. I never committed influence peddling. This is a SF construction” Blaga told to the judges.
He also said that he hadn’t any kind of understanding with Gheorghe Stefan for the appointments in the leadership positions of the companies, in order to obtain money for the party.
Asked by the DNA prosecutor how the appointments were made in the leadership positions inside the ministries and the state companies, Blaga replied: “As in today, as in the countries around us. There is no law in this respect.”
The next hearing of the trial was set on September 8, when Gheorghe Stefan will be heard.
Bucharest Court of Appeal issued a final decision on May 3, ruling that the trial in the case in which Vasile Blaga is accused of influence peddling for the illegal financing of PDL in the 2011-2012 period can start at the Bucharest Tribunal.
In the case of the illegal financing of PDL, on November 28, 2016, the DNA Ploiesti prosecutors sent to the court the former PNL Co-Chairman Vasile Blaga, who is accused of influence peddling because he allegedly received, in four instalments, though an interposed person, EUR 200,000 and EUR 500,000 from the former Mayor of Piatra Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan, in the 2011-2012 period, when he was the PDL Secretary General and Senator.
Blaga resigned as PNL Co-Chair right after the DNA Ploiesti prosecutors started prosecution in his case.
The DNA Ploiesti prosecutors claimed in the indictment that the money obtained by PDL following the agreements between Blaga, Gheorghe Stefan and businessman Horatiu Bruno Berdila were taken through “ghost” companies whose managers, who are witnesses in the case, were receiving fees between RON 200 and 1,500.
Since October, 2016, Gheorghe Stefan is executing the sentence of six years in prison received in the “Microsoft” case.