The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for the Control of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Activity, PSD Senator Claudiu Manda, announced on Monday that the hearing of the former First Deputy Director of the Service, Florian Coldea (photo), who should have been held on Tuesday, was postponed by a week, due to the fact that he announced he has a cold.
Coldea’s hearing was initially scheduled for March 6, his name being mentioned by those who have been heard until now as the one who was coordinating the involvement of the Service in all the important fields in the state, implicitly in Justice, according to Mediafax.
Florian Coldea is expected to answer before the committee to a number of questions, following the accusations made by those who have been heard until now in the Parliamentary Committee.
Some of the issues are:
– SRI’s involvement in Justice
– The involvement of the Service in solving the criminal cases and influencing judges or choosing certain court panels in order to obtain the desired solution
– The relationships he had with various businessmen and politicians, starting from the Hita case
– Influencing the political stage by using levers in Justice
– The “undercover” officers in Justice, press and politics
– The control on certain Media institutions
– Establishing a parallel system to influence major decisions in the public institutions
How did Coldea become the most powerful man in SRI?
Florian Coldea was appointed as the First Deputy of the SRI Director in 2005, shortly after the Romanian journalists kidnaped in Iraq were found. He was one of those who coordinated the operation, along with the SIE team, and Traian Basescu who was the President at that time, says he caught his attention.
Before being appointed as the First Deputy of the SRI Director, Coldea held various leading positions within the Inspectorate for Preventing and Combatting Terrorism of the Romanian Intelligence Service.
Two years after his appointment, in 2007, when President Traian Basescu was suspended, Mircea Geoana revealed two informative notes on the situation of three judges of the Constitutional Court of Romania at that time. It was an answer issued by CNSAS related to connections of these judges with the Securitate. Geoana accused Florian Coldea of trying to blackmail the magistrates in order to otain a favorable decision to Traian Basescu.
Later, the Parliamentary Committee conducted an investigation that led to Coldea’s suspension from his position. Conclusions were that SRI didn’t do political police, and Coldea took his position back after a few months.
After the expiration of his second term at Cotroceni, Basescu became a fierce contender of Florian Coldea and Codruta Kovesi, claiming that there are interventions of the secret services in Justice, after Alina Bica and Elena Udrea were arrested in the DNA cases.
In 2015, Elena Udrea stated that Flroian Coldea is behind the cases in which she is investigated, claiming that the DNA Chief opens cases at the order of the secret services. In fact, Udrea denounced Coldea at DNA, claiming that her ex-husband Dorin Cocos told her that he brought EUR 500,000 to Sebastian Ghita at Florian Coldea’s request, in order to finance his television channel. The case was closed.
At the end of 2016, the former head of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Alina Bica, stated that the Deputy Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service was interested of the Tender case in 2013, warning her that Ovidiu Tender is an important pawn and showing her a note about who this person is. “He said that this man represents something and we cannot take him out of the scene. At one point he said that as I don’t understood the issue of the national interest in 2005, I also don’t understand this now, and it won’t be good for me” Alina Bica stated.
Florian Coldea was also mentioned in the case of the plagiarized doctoral theses, the coordinator of his work being Gabriel Oprea, who lost his PhD title after a decision of the National Council for the Certification of University Titles, Diplomas and Certificates (CNATDCU).
However, Coldea received the toughest blow at the end of 2016. Shortly after Sebastian Ghita’s escape, Romania TV channel published recordings in which the business man accused Coldea of being involved in appointments in politics and judiciary. Ghita also spoke about the friendship between him and the SRI Deputy Director and revealed photos and video recordings in which they and their families appeared. Ghita said that the trips they made aboard with the Coldea family were paid by his companies.
Following these disclosures, Florian Coldea was suspended again and checked by his colleagues.
On January 17, 2017, the Romanian Intelligence Service announced that Florian Coldea didn’t breach the law or the internal rules in force, therefore his “reinstatement” was decided. But in the same announcement, SRI mentioned that Florian Coldea asked to be dismissed, for reasons of dignity.
The idea circulated in the public space was that this was the best way for him to “disappear”.
Today, Coldea is a university lecturer at the SRI’s National Intelligence Academy “Mihai Viteazul” (ANIMV), he teaches the Master class “Intelligence and Political Decision” for two hours a week at the “Babes-Bolyai” Univeristy (UBB) in Cluj, and also teaches at the West University in Timisoara.
Confessions from within the system. Daniel Dragomir and how SRI forced its way on the judiciary’s “corridor”
After Florian Coldea was the number two in SRI for 12 years, being deemed as the “brain” of the institution, in January 2017 he was discharged by President Klaus Iohannis. However, the accusations against him didn’t stop.
A man from within the system, the SRI Officer Daniel Dragomir, who is investigated in the Black Cube case and who resigned from the Romanian Intelligence Service in 2013, publicly spoke about what he called the corridors of Justice and press.
Specifically, he referred to the involvement of the Romanian Intelligence Service in the act of justice, supervising the criminal cases until the desired sentence is obtained and choosing the court panels to this end. Dragomir said that these actions are supported in Media, the “targets” being “publicly sentenced” before receiving a final decision issued by the court.
The brain of the SRI operations was also indicated as being Florian Coldea, while Laura Codruta Kovesi is the brain in judiciary, two heads which Dragomir accused of turning the institutions in their own servants due to personal interests.
“The targets were jointly established. I know two people who were so close in machinating these things. They are PFA Kovesi and SRL Coldea, who were involved. All those who participated must be included on that list. We, the criminals, the civil society, the Media, when I say criminals I mean those arrested for 6 months and then acquitted, we are on the Justice’s corridor. Judges must be on the other side. They have to understand that this misery, like for instance those who come with notes and requests, must stop” Daniel Dragomir stated.
In September 2017, in an interview for ziare.com, Coldea replied to him.
“Those who are using Dragomir today in their despicable games will end up by finding that they were the ones who were used (…). What I saw in public are not disclosures or information, but misinformation and despicable lies, and the Service has already did the necessary mentions. I saw a desperate man because of the scale of the criminal problems he has. If he knew these so-called abuses or illegalities since the period in which he was an active officer, why he didn’t reveal it to the competent institutions at that time? Why he didn’t do it after he left the institution, in the last four years, but waited this moment?” Coldea stated.
Dragomir continued his disclosures, speaking about how the magistrates not following the orders were blackmailed.
“The SRI officers were making the indictments, and the brave DNA prosecutors were taking them, countersigning them and sending them to the court, hoping that the much esteemed tactical field will continue to take care of them in order to provide them with the necessary paths to ensure the conviction (…)There were personal relationships between judges and officers who were involved in the tactical field, relationships that have been developed over the time, for instance General Dumbrava was supporting judges to be placed on the positions. The second case, based on blackmail, such as the SIPA archive, and the third was the officers under cover from the judiciary” Dragomir stated.
Florian Coldea’s answer: “The cooperation between the two institutions (SRI and DNA) was strictly conducted under the legal limits. There are no indictments that are written by SRI officers. These are pure lies, and the more dangerous they are as they have the appearance of the credibility since they come from a person who was inside the institution and about whom the false idea is implemented that he was my deputy and he worked directly with me. I would like to remind that in 2005, by the CSAT decision, the corruption phenomenon was including among the threats to the national security (…) I was involved in cooperation activities with prosecutors of the Public Ministry, therefore including with DNA, under the limit of our legal attributions”.
Coldea denied that there are undercover officers within judiciary, as Daniel Dragomir said, but he couldn’t deny that there are such collaborators among the journalists.
Asked about the holidays he spent with Ghita, those who led to the end of his career, Coldea said that all his relationships were within the limits of the law and “I didn’t have any financial or material benefit from anyone”, but he didn’t say clearly if he spent his holidays with Sebastian Ghita or not.