The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Senate leadership on Tuesday to postpone for next week their vote on the committee’s report on the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request to have the immunity of Calin Popescu Tariceanu lifted so as to probe him for passive bribery.
“As you know, Mr Tariceanu’s lawyer lodged yesterday written notes in his defence, a sizeable material. My colleagues were unable to see this material in its entirety. Likewise, yesterday and today we received from senators who are not members of the Judiciary Committee several requests to read the dossier. Consequently, we have decided to send these requests to the Standing Bureau, with the recommendation to allow our fellow senators who are not members of the committee to study the dossier within the Judiciary Committee based on a confidentiality procedure that the Committee and the Standing Bureau will establish. Likewise, we will study the notes that Mr Tariceanu lodged in his defence. Basically, we will hold the debate on the substance of the matter next week, depending on what the Standing Bureau decides. We have asked the Standing Bureau for one week,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Cazanciuc stated at the end of the meeting.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu announced on Monday that he sent the Senate Judiciary Committee written notes that will be included in his dossier. The leader of ALDE pointed out that the notes present in more detail the arguments he presented last Tuesday when he was heard by the committee.
“The arguments I had to present, I presented them before the Committee. Now there is only a more detailed review of the arguments. Of course, one must bear in mind that Parliament has the sovereign right to decide on this action to start a criminal probe and of course Parliament does not replace the criminal investigation bodies, so the Committee is not called upon to analyse the quality of the evidence adduced by prosecutors, but rather the Senate is called upon to decide on the advisability of this request from a political standpoint,” Tariceanu stated on Monday at the Palace of Parliament.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu was heard last Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing lasted just over one hour and took place in the absence of the press.
At the end of the hearing, the Senate Speaker stated that the DNA prosecutors’ undertaking in his case is meant to intimidate him in the fight he has started to shed light on the grave abuses that have been committed in Romania. The leader of ALDE rhetorically wondered whether it would not be better for Romania to be led by “tough prosecutors and blue-eyed officers.”
He said that the Senate’s vote on the DNA’s request to have his immunity lifted in order to start a criminal probe in his case must be one “that would demonstrate that the law must defend all citizens against abuses.”
“What happens in Parliament the moment the vote that concerns the criminal probe is brought up is not a vote concerning my person. It’s one that would demonstrate that the law must defend all citizens against abuses and it is each person’s right to have and receive the respect they deserve. This is what I’ve discussed with my colleagues. Of course, pinpoint questions were also asked,” Tariceanu explained at the end of the hearing last Tuesday.
Tariceanu added that during the hearing he told his colleagues from the Senate Judiciary Committee “that the accusations are that the Government decisions favoured a certain company. I told them that the only thing they did was to render things legal.”
The DNA has asked the Senate to approve the lifting of Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s immunity so as to start a criminal probe against him. Prosecutors have announced that the Senate Speaker is accused of allegedly receiving almost USD 800,000 from the representatives of an Austrian company in order to conclude several addenda to a commercial contract, the money received being used in the elections campaign.
According to the mentioned source, other persons are also being probed in this case for complicity to passive bribery, and in what concerns the Senator the start of the criminal probe into passive bribery is conditioned by the Senate lifting his immunity.