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April 20, 2021

Due to statute of limitations, Bucharest Court of Appeals ends lawsuit in which Neculai Ontanu was accused of taking EUR 1.4 million in bribe

The Bucharest Court of Appeals decided on Thursday, due to the statute of limitations, to end the lawsuit in which former Bucharest District 2 Mayor Neculai Ontanu was accused of accepting a 1,500-square metre plot of land, worth EUR 1.4 million, in return for easing the restitution of several plots of land. The court’s decision is not final.

Because the guilty acts have expired under the statute of limitations, Bucharest Court of Appeals magistrates have decided to end the lawsuit.

Likewise, the court acquitted Toma Sutru, former secretary general with the Bucharest District 2 Mayoralty, of passive bribery and money laundering, and sentenced Aurel Radu to three years in prison – suspended sentence – for money laundering and to 60 days of community work.

In what concerns lawyer Loredana Radu, judges decided to cancel the complicity to passive bribery charge due to statute of limitations, and to sentence her to three years in prison – suspended sentence – for money laundering.

At the same time, the court ruled the seizing of EUR 1.4 million from Aurel Radu and EUR 400,000 from Loredana Radu.

The Bucharest Court of Appeals decision is not final and can be challenged at the Supreme Court.

Before reading the ruling, judge Damian Dolache stated that “a denunciation was lodged in this case nine years after the guilty acts were committed.”

“It was an honest one. There is sufficient evidence in the dossier. Radu Loredana received a construction permit very quickly. This proves that the parties knew each other. The city hall secretary’s guilty act is distinct from the dossier. The accusations are lapidary. The guilty acts are old,” Dolache said.

On June 14, Bucharest Court of Appeals judge Damian Dolache postponed the ruling in this dossier, after the DNA prosecutor asked for maximum sentences against the defendants, while the defendants’ lawyers asked the court to acquit their clients. The ruling was scheduled for June 29 when, instead of making a ruling on the essence of the dossier, the judge decided to redocket the dossier “in view of putting up for discussion the legal classification of passive bribery,” according to the court hearing minute posted on the website of the Bucharest Court of Appeals.

On 16 June 2016, DNA prosecutors indicted former Bucharest District 2 Mayor Neculai Ontanu, for passive bribery; former District 2 Local Council Secretary Toma Sutru, for passive bribery and money laundering; lawyers Loredana and Aurel Radu, for complicity to passive bribery and money laundering.

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