JUSTICE

Court admits parole for Gabriel Sandu, sentenced to 3 years in prison in Microsoft case; decision not final

Bucharest’s District 4 Court admitted on Wednesday ex-minister Gabriel Sandu’s parole request, however the court’s ruling is not final. Gabriel Sandu is serving three years in prison, a sentence he received in the “Microsoft” case. In his request, he argued he worked in the penitentiary and consequently days were shaved off his sentence, but he also invoked the compensatory remedy law that recently came in force.

Gabriel Sandu told the magistrates he tried to mend his ways in prison and he wants to be with his family. He added he got almost two months shaved off his sentence because he worked in the penitentiary and also invoked the compensatory remedy law that came into force on October 19, which stipulates that six days will be shaved off a convict’s sentence for each 30 days spent in improper detention conditions.

The state prosecutor asked the magistrates to reject the ex-minister’s request and to establish a 10-month period in which Gabriel Sandu will not be able to lodge a new parole request.

Gabriel Sandu – Minister of Communications and Informational Society from December 2008 to September 2010 – is serving time at the Jilava Penitentiary.

Nicolae Dumitru and Dorin Cocos, also convicted in the Microsoft case, were released on parole on September 15 and October 3 respectively.

On October 16, the Supreme Court hiked the sentences ruled against the four defendants in the “Microsoft” case and ordered the confiscation of approximately EUR 16 million and of more than USD 2 million. Former mayor Gheorghe Stefan received the harshest sentence, six years in prison, hiked from the three years previously ruled; ex-minister Gabriel Sandu was sentenced to three years in prison, sentence hiked by one year compared to the one issued by the trial court; Dorin Cocos was sentenced to two years and four months in prison; Nicolae Dumitru was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, sentence hiked from the one year and six months suspended sentence ruled by the trial court.

The trial started on 24 March 2015 and ended on 3 October 2016, and concerned the way Microsoft licences were assigned for ten years.

According to prosecutors, Dorin Cocos allegedly asked for and received EUR 9 million from Claudiu Florica and Dinu Pescariu, in return for making sure, via then-Regional Development Minister Elena Udrea, that the companies backed by Florica would win and implement the Microsoft licensing contract from the Communications Ministry.

In the indictment, prosecutors showed that Dorin Cocos demanded EUR 17.5 million for himself, Gheorghe Stefan and Gabriel Sandu, in order to intervene in the purchase of the right to use Microsoft licences, of which EUR 15.7 million entered the bank accounts of companies directly or indirectly controlled by them.

In September, former Communications Minister Gabriel Sandu was indicted alongside former Microsoft Romania CEO Calin Tatomir and businessmen Claudiu Florica and Dinu Pescariu in the “Microsoft 2” case which concerns the sale of Microsoft licences. The damage in this case surpasses EUR 51 million.

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