In a message posted on Facebook on Friday, Save Romania Union (USR) Dan Barna asked the Anti-fraud Department (DLAF) to refer to the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) the documents regarding European grants handled by his company. Barna pointed out that the DLAF, “which is today overseen by Toni Grebla, Liviu Dragnea’s close associate” and led by Andrei Chendi, “Dragnea’s fan, who took the commitment in 2014, via a protocol, to notify him when he starts an audit,” is acting under political orders.
“The limits of a debate on a legitimate journalistic investigation have been crossed. I now intuit that the next step in their campaign is to take me to the DNA. It’s just that I have a lot of confidence in the DNA, an institution that, without being perfect, has often proven its professionalism and independence.
“That is why I ask the DLAF to urgently refer the documents to the DNA, because we know this is the political order they have received. There are no irregularities in those projects, I have openly answered all questions coming from both the Rise journalists and my USR colleagues and from all those who asked for details on this topic. Several oversight authorities have verified them in time; I want the DNA, whose impartiality I trust, to do so too.
“But how can I trust the fairness of the DLAF, which is today overseen by Toni Grebla, Liviu Dragnea’s close associate? An institution led by Andrei Cheni, Dragnea’s fan, who took the commitment in 2014, via a protocol, to notify him when he starts an audit? Would Dancila’s subordinates – from a Government whose Transport Minister (Razvan Cuc) ordered the state-owned TAROM to ground its airplanes on the day of the no-confidence vote, so that Opposition MPs would not be able to cast their ballots – shy away from taking orders?
“So, I ask the Government, the ousted Premier and the DLAF to stop the circus. I ask the same from the political actors that are orchestrating this dirty campaign. The simplest thing for them is to send the information to the DNA, one of the institutions that are not under political control.
“The PSD are trying one last dirty manoeuvre in order to enter the presidential runoff, which perfectly suits the current establishment. I guarantee it won’t happen!”, Dan Barna posted on Facebook.
Dan Barna’s reaction comes in the wake of Rise Project’s announcement that the Anti-Fraud Department is verifying the USR leader’s EU grants contracts.
“Dan Barna, the leader of USR, the party that started the #NoLawbreakers campaign, is the overseer of frauds and conflicts of interest involving EU grants. Successful entrepreneur Dan Barna has a long series of failures that have cost almost six million euro,” Rise Project journalists state, presenting an investigation into some of the projects financed with EU grants oversaw by the presidential candidate of USR-Plus.
USR leader explains why he asked that he be probed by DNA: I don’t want to be audited by Mrs Dancila
The USR Chairman announced on Friday that he asked DLAF to refer all the documents concerning him to the National Anti-corruption Directorate, accusing the use of information from a journalistic inquiry for political purposes.
In a Facebook post Dan Barna asked his supporters to refrain from attacks against Rise Project that conducts a journalistic investigation into European-funded projects he has been involved with in the past.
Barna accused DLAF – which has confirmed that it is performing preliminary checks in his case – of acting on PSD’s command.
“In a government where the Transport minister orders aircraft to be grounded, demands TAROM company to not allow the planes to take off, does anyone doubt that Ms. Dancila wouldn’t shy away from asking Toni Grebla to look a little into fraud issues? So we’re in a presidential electoral campaign. It’s clear that we are speaking in this line of reasoning and I don’t want to be checked by Ms. Dancila. It’s ridiculous and absurd. I am totally transparent, totally open, but I want the investigation to be conducted by an institution that is not subordinated to a direct counter-candidate. It’s as simple as that. (…) I am very proud of my consulting activity, there’s nothing to hide and nothing illegal in this activity. But I have a legitimate expectation for the checks to be carried out by an institution which is politically independent in the electoral campaign,” the USR leader said.
Dan Barna points out he knew nothing about this dossier.
“Mrs Dancila is directly coordinating an institution that is now, during the elections campaign, conducting verifications into some of my projects. I’m perfectly open, I have answered all questions, I’m still doing it. (…) I haven’t said at any point that the Rise Project investigation is not legitimate,” Barna said.
Dancila denies Barna’s accusations that Antifraud Department is acting on PSD’s political command
Social Democratic Party (PSD) Chair, outgoing Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, denied on Friday the claims of Save Romania Union (USR) leader and presidential contestant Dan Barna that the current investigation conducted against him by the Anti-Fraud Department (DLAF) is politically motivated.
“I cannot even respond to such a claim. I haven’t done and never will do something like that, on the contrary, I wished all the candidates success and I have never been a supporter of such measures, let alone to do something like this,” Dancila said in Brasov.
PSD’s Fifor: Barna probe is as if PSD were to cut pensions
PSD Secretary General Mihai Fifor claims that USR leader Dan Barna being probed for defrauding European grants is a blow to the USR. Fifor compares the situation to a PSD that were to cut salaries, namely a PSD that would abdicate from the party’s main desideratum.
“Each Romanian parliamentary party is recognised for the priority topics they seek. The PSD wants to bring about welfare for the citizens, the PNL concern themselves with austerity, the USR promised to clean up the political class.
“For the USR, the anti-fraud probe into European grants managed by Dan Barna is the equivalent of what a pension and salary cut would be for the PSD.
“It contradicts and disqualifies the political morality lectures that the USR was giving us. It’s a Romanian political party’s biggest betrayal of its own voters!”, Mihai Fifor wrote.