Former Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea stated on Thursday, after he was heard at the Special Section for Investigating Magistrates in the case concerning the repatriation of Nicolae Popa, that the Ministry of Defence was not involved in the operation.
“I told you, I was heard as witness; it’s the case concerning the repatriation of Mr Popa. I was Defence Minister at the time. The Defence Ministry had no contribution to that,” Gabriel Oprea stated when leaving the Section for Investigating Magistrates.
Asked what relationship he had with Florian Coldea, Oprea said: “I’ve said it before and I’m not saying it to boast. I was Defence Minister twice, I was Interior Minister twice, I was also Deputy Premier for National Security, and even Premier for a brief time. (…) While in these offices it is normal to discuss with the people who are working in these fields, with servicemen, generals. (…) With Mr Coldea, since you ask me, I was one of the people who contributed to and created the public order domain and the intelligence and national security domain. Mr Timofte, Radu Timofte, the late Radu Timofte was among my Ph.D. students, deputies such as General Mihai Zamfir or General Marin Ionel, Mr Coldea too. I’m around 11-12 years Mr Coldea’s senior, he was my Ph.D. student too, he was secretary of state, I’ve been minister or Deputy Premier, but I was never on a first-name basis with Mr Coldea, let that be clear. Maybe with Mr Maior, because I knew him from the Social Democratic Party.”
Answering a question, Oprea pointed out that he is friends with Sebastian Ghita.
“Usually, when it comes to what is not official, to private meetings, I have a brand. I’m a man who tries to keep his word. This is a brand you build in a lifetime and may lose in a second. I don’t like to talk about private meetings,” Oprea said.
Asked whether there were discussions on bringing Popa back to the country, he said there were no official meetings because the MoD was not involved.
“And during the informal meetings that I attended, where I met people from the security system, I never heard discussions on arrests or other illegal things. If someone did such a thing then that’s illegal and they must be held accountable,” Oprea said.
Asked whether he took part in a meeting with the representatives of the Public Ministry, the SRI and the Interior Ministry several days before Popa was repatriated, he said: “The ministry, someone from the Ministry of Defence probably took part in it. But I repeat, the ministry played no role in bringing Mr Popa to the country.”