Claudiu Manda, Chairman of the parliamentary committee on the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), stated on Wednesday, after Adrian Sarbu was heard, that the latter told the committee that in 2010 the SRI was interested in controlling the leadership of Realitatea TV via Sebastian Ghita, that persons from the leadership of the Service got involved in the Intact Group, and that former SRI Deputy Director Florian Coldea told him he had a solution for Dan Voiculescu, before the court passed its sentence against the latter.
“He [Adrian Sarbu] referred to a situation from 2010, back when Mr Maior asked him to help Sebastian Ghita with advice on how to run Realitatea TV from a managerial standpoint,” Claudiu Manda stated after Mediafax owner Adrian Sarbu was heard.
“Mr Ghita looked for him, they had several meetings and Mr Ghita himself confirmed to him this involvement,” Manda added.
The PSD Senator also said that, in 2010, persons from SRI’s leadership wanted to take over the leadership of Realitatea TV, via Sebastian Ghita.
“It was the aspect pertaining to the intention to take over the leadership and, later, possibly the whole media institution, namely Realitatea TV, which persons from the leadership of the SRI at the time wanted to take over via Mr Ghita,” Manda added.
“He says that in his opinion the premises were created for the SRI to get involved more, at that moment (2010 – editor’s note), in what the takeover of a media institution means, the planting of undercover officers or the Service attracting journalists, including the right to place journalists under surveillance on national security warrants,” Claudiu Manda added.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee on the SRI said that Adrian Sarbu also explained SRI’s interest in the Intact Group.
“The second example he wanted to present was the involvement of persons from the leadership of the SRI in what is the Antena television station or the Intact Group, and he gave an example. He says he witnessed Mr Coldea saying he has a solution for Mr Voiculescu, before the sentence was passed, referring to what happened in court and all the aspects you know, aspects presented in the public space,” Manda said. “I asked him if he has evidence, if there were other witnesses too, which were the circumstances; he said he doesn’t want to give details before the Committee now but if he is sued for making this statement, his statement before the Committee being already a piece of evidence, if he is sued he will come up with evidence there,” he concluded.
Likewise, according to the Chairman of the SRI Committee, Adrian Sarbu claimed that back then the Service attempted to get involved in the editorial coordination of institutions, via persons close to the Service, and referred to a press article in which former SRI Director George Maior allegedly confirmed that there are undercover officers in the media.
According to Manda, Adrian Sarbu said that next time he will bring evidence, meaning that “he’ll show the talking points various persons received and how these elements were described in the public space, based on the talking points, including persons from editorial offices, persons who – he said – have close sources, receive indictments, receive documents and were somehow better informed than others.”
According to Manda, Sarbu added that this phenomenon of getting involved in the leadership, the management of media institutions – in the sense of dossiers, arrests, or problems created – certainly deterred very many journalists who sought various solutions or left the media, but in his opinion it was definitely an activity of destroying the fourth estate.
Asked whether Adrian Sarbu mentioned only Realitatea TV and Antena, Manda pointed out: “In this first hearing he referred to the episodes at Realitatea, the episode at Antena and also what was, in his opinion, an attempt to take over Mediafax.”
“We consider that hearing Sebastian Ghita is necessary”
SRI Committee Chairman Claudiu Manda stated on Wednesday that the committee members consider that it is necessary to hear Sebastian Ghita, considering his statements and the statements made by other persons heard.
“We consider it’s necessary to hear Mr Ghita, considering his public statements, and the mentions made about him not only today but in other hearings too,” Manda said, adding that the same type of means of communications used to hear Ghita in court could be used for this purpose.
He explained that, against the backdrop in which all the proceedings of the committee are classified information and are taking place in line with the law on classified information, all the other hearings can take place without using secure audio-video communications accredited by ORNISS.
“From what I know, in Romanian courts Mr Ghita was present via commercial line,” Claudiu Manda argued.
The Chairman of the SRI Committee said that a date for hearing the former Lower House lawmaker has not been established and neither he nor his lawyers have been approached in this regard.