Former Finance Minister of the Victor Ponta Government, who currently is the PM Viorica Dancila’s State Counselor, Darius Valcov, has been sentenced on Thursday by the Supreme Court to eight years in prison. The judges’ decision is not final.
The judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) also ordered the seizure of RON 6,200,000.
The last hearing took place on January 9, when the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) asked the maximum sentence for Darius Valcov, namely 14 years in prison.
In conclusions, the defender of the former mayor of the Slatina municipality and former Finance Minister explained to the magistrates that there is no evidence to sentence his client and requested his acquittal.
Darius Valcov was sent to judgement by the DNA prosecutors in 2015, being accused of influence peddling, money laundering and financial operations or trade deeds that are incompatible with his position.
According to the indictment sent to the court, the manager of a trade company asked Darius Valcov in 2009, when he was the mayor of the Slatina municipality, to intervene at decision makers of the SC Compania de Apa Olt SA in order to help him win tenders related to works for objectives in Slatina, Scornicesti, Piatra Olt and Draganesti. In exchange for his intervention, the businessman allegedly promised to Darius Valcov that he will give 20 percent of the collected amounts (without VAT) from the work execution contracts.
Darius Valcov and the businessman in question agreed that the amounts of money promised in exchange of the former minister’s intervention will be paid in cash only, in RON and at the company’s headquarters. Thus, from January to March 2011, Valcov went to the company’s headquarters from time to time, where he allegedly received the total amount of RON 1.2 million from its manager, in three instalments of RON 400,000.
Investigators claim that Darius Valcov was receiving an instalment “each time when the contractor Compania de Apa Olt was performing payments in the company’s account”.
Valcov allegedly received the money at the headquarters of SC Tehnologica Radion, owned by Theodor Berna, according to DNA.
Darius Valcov is also accused of receiving in the period between April and December 2011, from the above mentioned businessman, through the former mayor Minel Florin Prina, the total amount of RON 2.5 million, in five instalments of RON 500,000, the money being given to Prina in Slatina.
Also, Valcov allegedly received RON 3,080,000 from the businessman in the period 2012-2013, through several companies.
According to DNA, starting from 2011, Valcov performed financial operations or trade deeds incompatible with the positions of mayor, senator and minister, using information he had due to these positions, in connection with seven companies which he owns de facto and which he manages through interposed persons, thus gaining benefits of RON 2,272,200.
According to the investigators, Darius Valcov allegedly obtained several goods, including three gold bars whose total weight is of three kilos, a painting with a gold frame inscribed by Renoir, a painting inscribed by Jean Cocteau inscription and a wood painting inscribed by Aurel Acasandrei, as well as USD 90,000 and RON 1,323,850.
Investigators claim that the money and the goods were deposited in a safe in the house of Daniel Barbulescu, a friend of the former Finance Minister.
Prosecutors ordered the seizure of three gold bars amounting RON 465,355, 172 works of art amounting RON 2,558,658, GBP 63,010, EUR 290,334 and USD 73,077. The seizure also involved the attachment of USD 90,000, RON 1,322,950 and RON 600,000.
Last week, Darius Valcov was appointed as PM Viorica Dancila’s State Counselor.
“Darius Valcov was at the Government all the time. He worked at the Government all the time and he supported the two Governments (the Grindeanu Governemt and the Tudose Government – e.n.). He is a man of a rare value in terms of economy, he is the one that actually worked at the governing program, along with me and other two colleagues” Liviu Dragnea commented the appointment.
Asked if his appointment isn’t a vulnerability for the Government, Dragnea answered: “He is a free man, he has the right to live and to circulate freely, and as long as he has these benefits, let’s say, he wants to help”.
Regarding Valcov’s criminal files, Dragnea said: “All that I know is that the Government benefits from his support, and this is very important. As far as I know, they don’t have this kind of talks at the Government, and they shouldn’t have, they should take care of the governing program”.
Codrin Stefanescu on the sentencing of Darius Valcov’s to prison: An unjustified political punishment; we are hunted
PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Sefanescu stated on Thursday, referring to the fact that Darius Valcov was sentenced to eight years in prison by a decision which is not final, that this is an unjustified political punishment.
“We are shocked by this sentence which I see as a political punishment. Once again, it is proven that we are constantly hunted, according to a well prepared timetable. From behind, important people of the so-called parallel state are coordinating all these activities, and things are not sewn with white thread, but with phosphorescent thread” Stefanescu said in a statement for Mediafax.
Stefanescu said that the eight-year sentence is unjustified regardless the deeds, mentioning that such a sentence is given in Europe for murder, armed assault against a bank, rape, infanticide, namely for serious things.
“Eight years, in this context, at the High Court, where they are still keeping Ionut Matei, the one who guaranteed last years the secrete protocols between DNA, ICCJ and SRI, and nothing changed, it tells absolutely everything, and don’t forget that Mr. Ionut Matei is the one who kicked me out of the courtroom during Adrian Nastase’s trial, on the ground that my look defies the honorable court. And this was in front of about 60 journalists. What happens in Romania right now is terrible. We support our colleague Darius Valcov, we will help him go over this first decision, and we still hope that innocence will be proven in the next court” Stefansecu said.
Regarding maintaining Valcov as a counselor in PM Viorica Dancila’s team, he mentioned that we really need valuable people like Darius Valcov.
“It’s his personal decision – if he wants to resign or to continue his activity. As a human being, you can realize – when you find out that you receive eight years for nothing – and you have your family, your children, your relatives, your father, your mother beside you, I think everybody understands what moments of tension and pressure my friend and colleague Darius Valcov has to live, and I have to say that I support him in these moments, and he will always have a friend in me” Stefanescu added.