Businessman Puiu Popoviciu, who received a final sentence to seven years in prison in the Baneasa Farm case, and who currently is under judicial supervision in London, filed an appeal for annulment to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Puiu Popoviciu filed the appeal for annulment – an extraordinary legal remedy – on August 30; the hearing is set for October 20, at the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
The appeal for annulment can be filed against final criminal decisions in the following cases: when the appeal was judged without the legal summons of one party, or when, although the party was legally summoned, couldn’t appear and inform the court about this impossibility, or when the defendant was convicted, although there was evidence related to a reason for the criminal trial to be ceased, according to the new Criminal Procedure Code.
Puiu Popoviciu was finally sentenced, on August 2, to seven years in prison for complicity in abuse of office and in giving bribe, in the Baneasa Farm case, in connection to deeds related to trading a 224 hectare land of the Bucharest University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) at an undervalued price; this trading caused damages of more than RON 335 million to the state and of almost RON 620 million to USAMV. Since Popoviciu didn’t appear to the Police station and he wasn’t found by the investigators in order to execute his sentence, he was internationally traced.
He was detained in London on August 14, after he appeared together with a lawyer at the London Police office that summoned him at the address provided by the Romanian police officers, after they located the businessman. Later, he was released for a 200,000 pounds bail, being obliged to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet. He is also obliged to appear 3 days a week at the London Police office.
On August 17, the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced that the magistrates of the Bucharest Court of Appeal have sent the European arrest warrant on the name of Puiu Popoviciu to the UK judicial authorities, which means they have been notified and they will decide accordingly.
Justice Minister said that we should see cautiously Popoviciu’s act to appear before the judicial authorities in London, and we should see what his purpose is. “If the purpose was to be handed over to the Romanian judicial authorities, he could have get on the plane and come home, or he could have went to the Romanian Embassy to be handed over to the Romania judicial authorities and enter under the power of the arrest warrant. Now we know he didn’t do this, and we saw that his purpose was to remain under the English judicial authorities’ protection. Of course, UK is an EU member, we have the frame decision, we have the Law no.302 on the international judicial cooperation in criminal matters, and the provisions related to applying the European arrest warrant become relevant” Tudorel Toader stated.
Puiu Popoviciu is represented by lawyer Louis Freeh, former head of FBI, who sent on August 9 a press release in which he declared himself “deeply disappointed” by the ICCJ decision in his client’s case, considering that the sentence is not supported by facts or by legislations.