Senate’s Speaker says DNA’s attempt to start a criminal prosecution against him is aimed at intimidating him and announces he will not quit the “fight” for a “fair justice”
Senate’s Speaker Calin Popescu stated on Tuesday, after he was heard by the Legal Committee preceding the opinion on the criminal prosecution, requested by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in his case, that the prosecutors’ attempt “has a well-defined purpose, namely to intimidate me”. Tariceanu added that he will not quit his “fight” for a “fair justice”.
“This so-called action of the prosecutors, materialized in a report sent to the Parliament, for alleged corruption deeds, has a well-defined purpose, namely to intimidate me and those who want to follow me in this fight we started four years ago, in order to warn about the excesses and the serious abuses that took place in Romania, in the Romanian judiciary. This action is also aimed at amplifying the confusion that rules today in the society, among the citizens, who can hardly distinguish what is right, what is good, from what is evil. Of course this action has a perverse effect. Undoubtedly, because it seeds distrust in institutions, and this is the most serious thing”, Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated.
In this context, the Senate’s Speaker added he will not be “intimidated” by this action.
“Such things do not intimidate me, I don’t quit the fight that I started and which I will carry on for a fair justice, which must be based on the law and only on the law. I don’t quit the fight that I started. (…) I will continue the efforts I made together with my colleagues in order to reform justice. The laws on the organization of the judiciary must be finalized, the required correction must be made, including regarding the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, so that justice or the prosecutors’ action will no longer be allowed to be discretionary, restricting or affecting by a profound manner the Romanian citizens’ rights. In the end, we must put a natural question to ourselves: is it normal for the state to pay for these serious mistakes committed in Romania in the judiciary field, because you know very well there are numerous citizens who, in the end, found their justice at ECHR. But no one is held accountable for this, of those working in judiciary, and the interesting thing is that the Romanian state is the one who has to pay the damages”, the Senate’s Speaker added.
The ALDE Chair also said that the vote to be expressed by the Parliament on the criminal prosecution in his case is not a vote regarding his person, “it is rather a vote that will demonstrate, in the end, that the law is the one that has to protect all the Romanians and each of them against abuses, the law is the one that has to protect their rights and freedoms, and everyone has the right to benefit from the appropriate respect, to receive the appropriate respect and the belief that he is protected by the law”.
Tariceanu added that he explained to his colleagues in the Parliament that the Government’s decisions invoked in the criminal investigation “did nothing else but making the Romanian institutions be legal, including those directly belonging to the Government, since Windows licenses were used without existing any payment for this”, and these decisions are “fully legal”, and none of them was related to the payment of an amount of money to Microsoft.
“They raise the following question: these decisions were allegedly issued to favor the Microsoft company. I explained to you from the beginning that the Government complied with the law by issuing these Government’s decisions. Furthermore the Government didn’t perform any payment that could cause the suspicion that I obtained undue benefits indirectly, and if these decisions were unlawful, they could have been challenged before the administrative courts, or annulled by the following Government. Well, they weren’t annulled, on the contrary, the Government assumed the obligations to be performed”, Tariceanu explained.
Senate’s Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu was heard on Tuesday by the Legal Committee as a result of DNA’s request to approve starting the criminal prosecution in his case.
On November 7, DNA sent to the Senate the request to approve starting the criminal prosecution in Tariceanu’s case, the latter appreciating that this is a political action and expressing his belief that the file contains “a lot of wastepaper”.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu is accused of having received, when he was PM, “material benefits” of almost USD 800,000 from an Austrian company, in order to intervene for the conclusion of certain addenda to a contract executed by the company. The amount received by Tariceanu represented a 10% fee from the value of these addenda and was allegedly used for the benefit of the dignitary, being transferred based on some fictitious agreements concluded with several offshore companies.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s file has more than 70 volumes and contains over 17,000 pages.
According to the Senate’s Regulation, the Legal Committee has to issue a report, which is subject to the approval of the majority of the present members, by secret vote, then it is debated by the Senate’s plenary session no later than within 5 days since it was submitted to the Standing Bureau.
The resolution on the criminal prosecution request, whose draft is prepared by the Committee for Legal Matters, Appointments, Discipline, Immunities and Validations, has to be adopted with the vote of the majority of the present senators, by observing Art.67 of the Romanian Constitution, republished. The vote is secret and expressed by balls. The resolution by which the Senate requests or does not request the criminal prosecution has to be published in the Official Journal.
Of the 11 members of the Senate’s Legal Committee, five members are from PSD, two of them are from PNL, and one member is from USR, UDMR and ALDE. Senator Adrian Tutuianu, who is one of the members of the Committee, was excluded from PSD, at this moment not belonging to any parliamentary group. Asked, two weeks ago, how the PSD Senators will vote, related to DNA’s request on removing Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s immunity, the PSD Chair Liviu Dragnea said that the file will be carefully studied. “Am I Mama Omida, let’s be serious?”, the PSD Chairman said, mentioning that “the PSD Senators have their own personality”.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu studied his file and said that it would be the best if the senators, particularly the members of the Legal Committee, will have time to read the file themselves, in order to be able to form a complete opinion.
Cazanciuc says DNA’s request for the approval of the criminal prosecution related to Tariceanu will be debated in a week
The Chairman of the Senate’s Legal Committee, Robert Cazanciuc, says that DNA’s request to approve the criminal prosecution related to Calin Popescu Tariceranu will be debated on the next Tuesday, then the report will be drafted and sent to the Parliament. “It’s not a vote for or a vote against. The Sebnate is requested to exercise a certain prerogative. We will see on Tuesday, after the debates, if it will do it or not”, Cazanciuc stated.
Robert Cazanciuc said each member of the Legal Committee had time and still has, to study the file, and Calin Popescu Tariceanu can come anytime at the Committee, if there are things to be clarified, until next week, when the written notes will be submitted.
“We are here fast forward, we are in a procedure in which we must form a certain belief. If there are certain clarification to be made, they must be made, to be very sure of what we will decide in the end”, he stated.
Upper House Chairman Tariceanu denies corruption accusations, says decision to greenlight prosecution in Senate’s hands
Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said on Tuesday that it is in the hands of the Upper House plenary to decide whether he should be prosecuted or not, while the prosecutors can only look into the legality, not the timeliness of the Government’s decisions.
“From a constitutional point of view, it is the Senate’s prerogative to decide whether criminal prosecution should be initiated or not. The prosecution can only investigate the legality, not the timeliness of the Government’s decisions. In my case they accuse me of having made these decisions to favor someone, yet without producing any evidence. (…). The timeliness of the Government decisions is exclusively for the Executive to weigh and the legality is controlled by the Prosecutor’s Office, but this is not the case here. I have clearly pointed this out to my fellow Senators, because I believe they must fully assume responsibility for the decision, and not shirk responsibility in such a situation,” Tariceanu said after his hearing before the Law Committee.
He dismissed all the accusations leveled at him by the prosecutors, mentioning that in his 30-year long political career he has never claimed favors from anyone.