Following the recent decision of the Constitutional Court (CCR) on the composition of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) panels of judges, the magistrates of the Supreme Court have decided in recent days a wave of suspended sentences in several cases, among those with suspended sentences being also famous names that have been in the limelight of public opinion in the past years.
According the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM), the CCR decision exclusively concerns the ICCJ panels of 5 judges, not the panels of 3 judges of the Supreme Court or those of other courts. However, Cristina Tarcea, the head of the Supreme Court, has remarked at the drawing of the new panels of 5 judges of the Court last Thursday that “more or less discreetly, the assault on the three- judge panels from the High Court has begun”.
The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Thursday decided to suspend the execution of Elena Udrea’s sentence in the “Gala Bute” file, in which she was received a final sentence to a 6-year detention term.
Moreover, the Supreme Court decided to suspend his sentence and release from the penitentiary Tudor Breazu, who was also convicted in the “Gala Bute to a 3-year term in jail.”
The decision must also be communicated to the authorities of Costa Rica, where Elena Udrea is arrested, and the authorities have to specify whether they maintain the extradition request for her. The judges of Costa Rica have decided to prolong the preventive arrest both for Elena Udrea and Alina Bica until they decide whether to extradite them to Romania or not.
Defenders of Elena Udrea and Tudor Breazu, convicted in the Gala Bute file, filed appeals against the formation of 5 judge-panels from the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court also decided to suspend the execution of the sentence in the case of former head of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Alina Bica, in the case in which she was prosecuted for committing the offense of favoring the offender and convicted to 4 years in prison.
“Accepts, in principle, the appeal in annulment formulated by sentenced Alina Mihaela Bica against criminal decision No 117 of June 26, 2018, pronounced by the panel of 5 judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice in file No 2067/1/2017. (…) Admits the request to suspend the execution of criminal sentence No 1057 of November 29, 2016 (…), until the final settlement of the appeal for annulment … (…) Final,” the minute of the decision shows.
On June 26, Alina Bica was finally sentenced by the magistrates of the Supreme Court to four years in prison with execution in the case in which she was accused of favoring the offender.
In the same file, former Minister of Economy Adriean Videanu was acquitted by the Supreme Court judges.
In November 2016, Alina Bica was sentenced at first instance to four years in prison with execution for committing the offense of favoring the offender, and was acquitted for two offenses of abuse of office and another of favoring the offender. In the same case, Adriean Videanu was acquitted for the crime of complicity in abuse of office.
Former Tax Administration Agency head Serban Pop, released from jail by Supreme Court
Former head of the National Tax Administration Agency (ANAF) Serban Pop will be released from jail, after the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ, Supreme Court, ed. n.) decided the suspension of the execution of the 5-year jail sentence in an influence peddling criminal file.
“Acknowledges in principle the appeal in annulment by convict Serban Pop against the criminal decision No. 116 of 26 June 2018, given by the 5-panel justices with the High Court of Cassation and Justice in the file No. 2.138/1/2017. (…) Acknowledges the request to suspend the criminal sentence’s execution No. 42 of 26 January 2017 (…), until the appeal in annulment is finally solved. Final,” Wednesday’s decision’s minutes read.
On 26 June, Serban Pop was sentenced to 5 years in jail for influence peddling. In the same file was also condemned businessman Horia Simu to 4 years in prison for influence buying, while the former DIICOT (Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism) head received an acquittal sentence.
In September 2015, Alina Bica and Serban Pop were sent to court by the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) in the above-mentioned file. According to the DNA, in 2014, Serban Pop received from Horia Simu a total of 230,000 euro (cash and under the form of two judicial consultancy contracts) to intervene at the top of the DIICOT with the purpose to get a favourable solution in a criminal file regarding the businessman. A part of this sum of money is supposed to have reached Alina Bica, via Ionut Mihailescu, at the time her counselor.
“On 8 November 2014, Alina Bica, in her capacity of DIICOT chief-prosecutor received for herself, indirectly via a middleman (informer in the case) the amount worth 17,500 euro out of a total of 20,000 euro, that the latter as a middleman had received from Serban Pop. The 20k euro was a share of the rd 230,000 euro total amount that was given by the businessman in several installments, the long of 8 months in 2014, to the culprit Pop, so the latter would hand them in in the above-mentioned purpose,” the prosecutors were saying.
DNA specifies that in exchange for the money received, Alina Bica determined the replacement of the case prosecutor and put pressure on another subordinate of hers (who according to the evidence provided in the case, acted in no guilt), with the goal to give a sort out solution in the case where criminal investigation was under way against Simu, which subsequently happened.
Dan Sova, Constantin Nita, Rudel Obreja, released from prison by ICCJ
Former Senator Dan Sova, former minister Constantin Nita and former head of the Romanian Boxing Federation Rudel Obreja will be released from prison after the High Court of Cassation and Justice ordered the suspension of the execution of the sentences in the cases in which they were convicted.
The three on Wednesday demanded in court the annulment of the sentences on the grounds that the law was not observed when the five judges of the Supreme Court were constituted.
The tribunal which ordered the release of the three is composed of: Simona Daniela Encean, Tatiana Lucia Rog, Alexandra Iuliana Rus, Luciana Mera and Rodica Aida Popa.
*** Former Senator Dan Sova received on June 20, 2018, a final three-year imprisonment sentence for influence peddling in the CET Govora file, having to pay 100,000 euro.
*** Former Energy Minister Constantin Nita was convicted on June 28, 2018, to 4 years imprisonment with execution of the sentence for the offence of influence peddling, being accused by the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) of having received money from businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu.
*** Rudel Obreja, former president of the Romanian Boxing Federation, was sentenced to five years in prison in the Gala Bute case, a case in which (former minister) Elena Udrea was sentenced to six years in prison.