Ex-Premier Victor Ponta was heard on Monday at the Supreme Court, in the dossier in which Sebastian Ghita is being probed for corruption, emphasising that the businessman never asked him to appoint prosecutor Liviu Tudose in any office, and adding that he only met prosecutor Liviu Tudose on two occasions.
“I met prosecutor Tudose approximately twice. The first time, I was invited at a friend’s wedding in Sinaia and I understand Tudose was the godfather. In that capacity, he saluted me, and we exchanged a few words. Subsequent to that meeting, in Bucharest, at my office, I was told Mr Tudose wants to offer me an invitation. Since my daughter was – and is – taking piano lessons and his daughter had a piano concert in Ploiesti. The meeting lasted 30 seconds. I was in a rush. I told him that if my schedule allows it, I will honour his invitation, but I wasn’t able to. I haven’t met him since and we never talked again,” the ex-Premier stated before High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) magistrates.
At the same time, the presiding judge also asked Victor Ponta whether he was friends with Sebastian Ghita and whether the latter asked him to promote prosecutor Liviu Tudose to some office.
“At that time, I was friends with Mr Sebastian Ghita, but now… He never asked me to appoint Tudose in any office. The only persons with whom I talked about Tudose were Cazanciuc (ex-Justice Minister – editor’s note) and Tiberiu Nitu (ex-Prosecutor General – editor’s note). As a result of the fact that I had been at the wedding and they were both from Prahova, had worked in Prahova. I asked them if they knew him. I asked them if being at a wedding where he was the godfather was a PR problem. I hadn’t known who the godfather was. Ghita wasn’t present at that wedding. I asked Cazanciuc whether there’s a problem with Tudose. I told him he invited me to Ploiesti and I asked him if he wants to come,” Victor Ponta added.
Victor Ponta was heard in this dossier because prosecutor Liviu Tudose stated in early March 2016, in a statement before prosecutors, that “in the spring of 2014, he and Ghita Sebastian Auelian went to Victor Ponta. On that occasion, the Premier offered him a leadership position, namely head of the Antifraud Department, or an executive position within the ONPCSB, a proposition with which he agreed in principle but which no longer materialised,” the National Anticorruption Directorate’s report reads.
DNA prosecutors indicted former House lawmaker Sebastian Ghita in 2016, charging him with two counts of active bribery, purchase of influence, money laundering, blackmail, two counts of use of classified information and driving without a licence.
Also indicted were Liviu Tudose, general prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Ploiesti Court of Appeals at the time, for passive bribery and use of classified information; Viorel Dosaru, head of the Prahova County Police Inspectorate at the time, for passive bribery, aiding and abetting, influence peddling and use of classified information; Constantin Ispas, police officer, and Aurelian Constantin, deputy general prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Ploiesti Court of Appeals at the time, for abusive probe and use of classified information.
The prosecutors’ indictment shows that “from June 2013 to spring 2014, while the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Ploiesti Court of Appeals was probing a complex case into the committal of tax evasion and money laundering, some of the persons concerned obtained confidential information from several sources, Ghita Sebastian Aurelian being among the beneficiaries of this classified information.”
The confidential information concerned a probe against several natural or legal persons, the technical surveillance measures ordered, the pre-trial measures set to be taken, the name of the prosecutor handling the case and of the police officers delegated to carry out the criminal probe.
“Concretely, using the influence he had and effectively exercised to maintain and promote certain persons in public offices, defendant Ghita Sebastian Aurelian tasked defendants Tudose Liviu Mihail and Dosaru Viorel with offering him confidential information from the criminal probe dossier,” the DNA’s indictment reads.