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May 28, 2022
JUSTICE

Supreme Court denies appeal filed by former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, maintains six- years in prison sentence

A panel of five Supreme Court judges on Thursday denied an appeal filed by former Tourism Minister Elena Udrea and the other defendants in the “Bute boxing gala” case, thus sustaining a six-year in prison sentence.

The court’s ruling was taken by a majority of votes and is final, so Elena Udrea will go to jail.

There was also a dissenting opinion, in the sense of admitting the appeals filed by the defendants and the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA).

Former chairman of the Romanian Boxing Federation Rudel Obreja will also go to prison to will serve a five-year time, as will Tudor Breazu, who was handed a three-year in prison sentence.

The other defendants were handed suspended sentences: Stefan Lungu (Udrea’s former counsellor) – one year and six months; Gheorghe Nastasia (former top official with the Ministry of Development) – four years; Ana Maria Topoliceanu (former director of the National Investment Company) – three years; Dragos Marius Botoroaga (business administrator) – two years and six months.

On the other hand, by rejecting the DNA appeal, the acquittal decision handed to former Minister of Economy Ion Ariton was upheld.

The sentences in this case had been suspended in December 2018, after the Constitutional Court ruled that the law had not been complied with when the panels of five judges of the Supreme Court were constituted, and the final sentence in the ‘Bute boxing gala’ case was issued by an illicit panel.

In practice, by denying the challenge, the Supreme Court applied a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union that says national judges can overrule a decision of the Constitutional Court if sentences in European funds fraud cases are overturned.

The Romanian judges also confirmed the supremacy of EU law over domestic law by not applying a decision of the Constitutional Court, Agerpres informs.

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