Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea stated on Monday that he is not interested in Codruta Kovesi’s candidacy for the office of Chief European Prosecutor. Asked whether Romania should support her bid, he answered: “Is this the Eurovision?” Dragnea rejected the allegations that the probe against the former head of the DNA, handled by the Section for Investigating Magistrates, is politically influenced. “I can’t – nobody can – influence that prosecuting body,” the PSD leader claimed.
“I don’t know what the Government will do, I avoid making comments because I would be talking about double standards. I repeat, since this isn’t the Eurovision, I don’t want to talk about supporting Romania,” Dragnea added when asked what mandate Romania’s representative will get in Brussels.
He deemed that “there must be some respectable candidates” for the office of European Prosecutor.
Asked what the PSD’s MEPs will do, Dragnea said: “They will express their point of view there, by taking into account all criteria and good reputation.”
Referring to the allegations that he is behind the probe against Codruta Kovesi, Liviu Dragnea stated: “I don’t believe any politician can be behind any prosecuting body that is, paradoxically, the only one not politically appointed. Maybe this fact bothers, the fact that people who won a competition are holding some offices and are starting to do their job, not owing anything to anyone… Maybe this fact bothers. So, I categorically reject such accusations or such statements, because I can’t – nobody can – influence this prosecuting body.”
Asked whether the fact that she is being investigated is a weak point for Kovesi, Dragnea replied: “Who knows? Is it something to boast with?”.
“I’m really not interested in what Kovesi does,” Dragnea added.
Asked about the Opposition’s demand that the Section be dissolved, the PSD leader said that “the CCR said that it [the Section] is a good thing.”
Guy Verhofstadt asks EP President to guarantee that Kovesi will be able to present her bid for the office of Chief European Prosecutor: “We are appalled by the Romanian authorities’ attacks against this candidate”
Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, and MEP Sophie in’t Veld have sent European Parliament President Antonio Tajani a letter asking him to defend the process of selecting the Chief European Prosecutor and to guarantee that Laura Codruta Kovesi will take part in the process.
“In light of the attacks by the Romanian Gov against Laura #Kovesi, @SophieintVeld & I have today jointly written to @EP_President, calling on him to defend the integrity of the selection process for the EU’s public prosecutor & to guarantee Mrs Kovesi can fully participate,” Verhofstadt wrote on his Twitter account.
In their letter, Verhofstadt and Veld declare themselves appalled by the attacks against Kovesi and by the fact that she might be unable to take part in the European Parliament hearings.
“We are appalled by the Romanian authorities’ attacks on one of the candidates and concerned that they risk undermining the integrity of the selection process,” the letter reads.
“It is the Parliament’s duty to make sure that the hearings scheduled at the end of February take place and to ensure a fair process for all three candidates,” the two point out.
“Thus, we ask you to call on the Romanian authorities to guarantee that Kovesi can take part in the hearings before the European Parliament. As long as she has not been charged with anything, let alone convicted, her rights cannot be taken away,” Verhofstadt and Veld point out in the letter.
MEP Renate Weber on EPPO leadership office for which Laura Codruta Kovesi competes: It’s an office that is being played politically
Renate Weber stated on Saturday that she will take part in the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee hearing of Laura Codruta Kovesi, who runs for the leadership of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The ALDE MEP pointed out that the office of European Chief Prosecutor is “being played politically.”
“I’ll go and will be in attendance. But the committees are holding a hearing. The vote there is an absolutely relative thing. There is no vote counting and decision based on this. It’s a presentation before the members of the Committee. The procedure is similar to the appointment of commissioners. The final say does not belong to these committees. They are only conducting an analysis, they evaluate and may issue a vote of acceptance or of rejection. Just like it happened in the case of some European commissioners, when a vote of rejection was indeed cast, back then the countries had to nominate other candidates, but, aside from this, this is not the end. There is still a stage left, and in the next stage the Council is the one that must pronounce its opinion by vote,” Renate Weber stated on Saturday at a press conference in Sinaia.
The ALDE MEP added that there will be an EU Council vote, but the leadership of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office “is being played politically.”
“How can you believe such an office is not being played politically? Of course, it is being played politically. They must be professionals, that’s clear, but it’s a political negotiation. Naturally, we have the right to vote within the Council, because we also hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU, but not within the two committees, there are no ALDE members there. Indeed, there are colleagues from other political groups,” Weber concluded.
Laura Codruta Kovesi is on the short list of three prosecutors who are running for the leadership of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. In this context, she will be heard by the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee at the end of February, the selection process set to be finalised by the end of March.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) will be an independent European prosecution office tasked with investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment the authors of crimes against the EU’s financial interests and their accomplices. Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 regarding the EPPO entered into force on 20 November 2017. In line with the said regulation’s Article 120, the EPPO will start its activity following a Commission decision, once it is established, but no sooner than 3 years from the moment the Regulation regarding the EPPO comes into force.
The European Public Prosecutor’s Office is expected to start its activity by the end of 2020.
Elena Udrea compares Kovesi dossier to Bute Boxing Gala dossier: If I broke the law then she broke it too, and should get a minimum of 6 years in jail and be forced to give the money back to Ghita
Former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea compares the dossier opened on Laura Codruta Kovesi’s name, following a complaint lodged by Sebastian Ghita, to the Bute Boxing Gala dossier, stating that if she broke the law then the former DNA Chief Prosecutor also did, and she should get at least six years in jail and should be forced to give the money back to Ghita.
“If I broke the law then she broke it too and she should get at least six years in jail, plus she should be forced to give the money back to Ghita… Or is justice not equal for all, it’s only for the dogs?”, Udrea writes in a Facebook posting in which she compares the Bute Boxing Gala dossier to the dossier in which Laura Codruta Kovesi is accused of asking Sebastian Ghita to cover the transport costs of extraditing Nicolae Popa, former director of the National Investment Fund (FNI), from Indonesia.
Udrea says that Kovesi’s defenders claim that the fact that Kovesi asked Sebastian Ghita, in 2009, to pay for a private jet that would bring back to the country fugitive Nicolae Popa is neither grave nor a case of passive bribery.
“I would have leaned toward defending her and saying the same, if things weren’t identical in my case. I mean, Mrs Kovesi accused me of bringing Lucian Bute to box in his country, where millions of Romanians wanted to see him box and where nobody had been able to organise a bout for him. Bute did not box for Elena Udrea, he did not box in my living room, I gained no advantage from his presence at that boxing gala, known as the Bute Boxing Gala. The only benefit Mrs Kovesi identified consisted of the applause I would have received, namely the good PR I would have gained,” Udrea points out.
She emphasises that she received a six-year executory prison sentence for that and the confiscation of a sum equal to the sum that the ministry she was leading at the time paid for promoting Romania during that boxing bout, the ruling coming from a panel of judges which she claims was illegally formed and which included judge Ionut Matei.
“So, why does she and her supporters wonder that she is accused of taking a bribe consisting of the sum of money used to pay for the rental of the private jet, and that she also had a PR gain, aside from the holiday she spent with the SPP officer in Indonesia where she had no business being?”, Udrea wonders.
Several days ago, Udrea stated, referring to Kovesi, that “the time of normality is starting to come,” wishing her “welcome to the lawbreakers’ club.” Udrea claimed that she and her family, but also other politicians and businessmen, had gifted the former head of the DNA jewellery and purses whose value surpassed EUR 200, which means Kovesi should have declared them.
Nicolae Popa: I expect more joys regarding other characters from this dossier. Basescu’s direct involvement is already notorious. All those who took part in my extradition should be held accountable
Nicolae Popa says he expects “more joys” regarding the characters involved in the dossier opened in connection with his extradition. “Basescu’s direct involvement is already notorious. All those who took part in the rogatory commission, who were on the plane with which I was extradited, who took part in the “informal talks” with Indonesian authorities, I believe they should be held accountable,” he states.
“I firmly believe the time has come for all the abuses and atrocities committed by this toxic regime to stop, and for its top representatives, such as Mrs Kovesi for starters, to pay for all the illegalities committed in the last 12-14 years. I also believe that, unlike the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, Romanian folk wisdom has foreseen a proverb for all situations in which one might find oneself in life: don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you; lies are short-lived; you reap what you sow; tables turn; who sows wind shall reap the whirlwind. And there’s something else – in Christianity it is said it’s not good to take satisfaction in someone’s misfortune. I’m an atheist. Honestly, I expect more joys regarding other characters in this dossier. Basescu’s direct involvement is already notorious. All those who took part in the rogatory commission, who were on the plane with which I was extradited, who took part in the “informal talks” with Indonesian authorities, I believe they should be held accountable,” Nicolae Popa stated on Sunday evening for Antena3.
He said he was assisted by three law firms during the 16 months he spent in detention in Indonesia.
“The first was led by the dean of the Jakarta bar. I gave up on it after two or three months. The next one was a smaller firm, and they represented me for a few months. Subsequently, Toedjoej Empat was the firm that represented me during the extradition process too, a firm whose owner was a police general, a two-star general, Firman Gani, Deputy Chairman of the Defence Committee. Now I have to tell you that in Indonesia things go like this: the suspect is arrested by the police, after which he is represented by lawyers who are the employees of police generals, and they only engage in a sort of brokerage, to establish some conditions in which the release can be ordered, the years of detention are negotiated or, if a consensus is not reached, the arraignment is ordered and, from then on, just like in our case, the judicial circuit does its duty and they end up in jail. He [General Gani] was not visible, in fact he was a co-owner, there were several associates, but all of them generals of the Indonesian police,” Popa recounted.
He said that Firman Gani died several years ago.
Popa added that he met him only once, and aside from that he only discussed with the law firm’s lawyers.
“He was part of the Indonesian delegation that visited Romania at the end of March or early April 2011. Mrs Angela Nicolae was saying that she was in contact with this delegation and they were confused because, instead of having contacts with Romanian officials, with the representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office, of the CSM, of the Justice Ministry, they were taken around Bucharest, maybe outside of Bucharest too. Basically they were given a city tour of Bucharest, a tour whose main point was a stop before Vantu’s house, on a street in central Bucharest, where they were told: this is the house in which Sorin Ovidiu Vantu – Romania’s public enemy number one – lives; he is directly linked to Nicolae Popa, who is undergoing an extradition procedure in your country,” Nicolae Popa stated.
The prosecutors of the Section for Investigating Magistrates announced on Friday evening that they have officially accused Laura Codruta Kovesi of receiving more than RON 280,000 from Sebastian Ghita in connection with the repatriation of Nicolae Popa.
Kovesi case, at ECHR: The Court addresses four key-questions to the Romanian authorities, on the dismissal of the former DNA head
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) published on its website details of the trial opened by the former DNA Chief-Prosecutor; the European Court addressed four questions to the parties. One of the questions is if Kovesi had the possibility to appeal her dismissal before the court.
According to the Court’s website, the four questions addressed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) are:
- Is Article 6§1 of the Convention (the European Convention on Human Rights) applicable in this case (see Baka v. Hungary (GC), no.20261/12, 23 June 2016)?
- If so, did the plaintiff have access to a court in order to establish her civil rights and obligations related to her dismissal as the Chief-Prosecutor of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), according to Article 6 § 1 of the Convention?
- Given the plaintiff’s statements according to which her dismissal would be the result of her opinions publicly expressed as a professional, was there any interference with her right to freedom of speech, according to Article 10 § 1 of the Convention? If so, was this interference provided by the law and necessary, according to the terms set by Article 10 § 2?
- Did the plaintiff have the possibility to use a concrete remedy at national level, as provided by Article 13 of the Convention?
In last December, Laura Codruta Kovesi appealed before ECHR the decision by which she was dismissed as the DNA head, the former Chief-Prosecutor claiming that several rights provided by the European Convention on Human Rights have been breached in her case.
The reasons invoked in her appeal are related to the fact that, by its decision, the Constitutional Court decided that Kovesi is dismissed, although she hadn’t the capacity of a party in the conflict solved by the Constitutional Court, she wasn’t summoned before the Constitutional Court and she hadn’t the possibility to be at least “intervener”, in order to express a point of view in her defense.
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated later for MEDIAFAX that a decision of the Constitutional Court cannot be subject to the ECHR control, since it is a final decision.
Ex-DNA head Kovesi says subpoenaed by magistrates’ Crime Investigation Section, accuses attempt to defame her. Adina Florea: This case is the result of Sebastian Ghita’s complaint of December 2018 . If she doesn’t come, there are measures related to the subpoena modalities and bringing the investigated person. Iohannis asks Section for investigating crimes in Justice to quickly clarify situation regarding Kovesi case. PSD: Judiciary must be allowed to do its duty! Stop politicising the indictment of Mr Kovesi!
Former DNA chief prosecutor heard at the Prosecutor General’s Office. Investigators claim Kovesi got bribe from fugitive mogul for extradition of businessman. Kovesi denies having discussed with Ghita the extradition of Nicolae Popa, demands two prosecutors investigating her be recused. PM Dancila: Let justice do its work in Kovesi’s case