Bucharest, September 6, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Prosecutors with the Ploiesti National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) on Tuesday placed former Prime Minister Victor Ponta under 60-day court supervision in a case in which he was heard the same day for almost one and a half hour.
DNA says in a press statement that Ponta is prosecuted in a new case for the use of influence or authority for ill-gotten gains for self or others and for being an accomplice to money laundering.
It claims that Ponta used his authority to get confirmation of a businessman running for a seat in Parliament in a constituency that would guarantee successful running.
“In order to designate a businessman a candidate on the tickets of a political party in a constituency where the political party was sure to win, Ponta Victor Viorel, in his capacity as national leader of the party in question, used his authority to win confirmation of the recommendation for that businessman to get on the tickets,” says DNA.
The confirmation was sought by Ponta in order to get ill-gotten gains, namely 220,000 euros needed to prepare a visit to Romania by a foreign personality.
“What was being sought was that by touting a meeting with the internationally acclaimed personality, Ponta Victor Viorel would gain electoral capital in the context of 2012 and the electoral schedule, as local and parliamentary elections were to be held. The 220,000 euros were obtained through intermediaries from the businessman placed on an eligible position on the tickets,” says DNA.
The misdeed was allegedly conducted via a non-profit, non-political organisation to create the impression that the visit of the former foreign leader was not a party initiative, so that the public opinion might think that the meeting of the foreign dignitary with Ponta happened at the former’s initiative.
“To this end, Ponta Victor Viorel and the businessman asked the leader of the non-profit organisation to find a way for the foreign politician to be invited to Romania without the public knowing that the initiative originated with Ponta Victor Viorel, and for the related payment to be covered by the businessman via intermediaries. In order to conceal the dubious provenance of the amount of 220,000 euros, defendant Ponta Victor Viorel, conniving with the businessman, accepted to successively conclude two agreements,” the prosecutors argue.
They allege that upon receipt of the 220,000-euro amount, the businessman was confirmed by Ponta, the party leader, a candidate of his party in a constituency of Prahova County.
The businessman successfully ran for a seat in Romania’s Chamber of Deputies.
During the 60-day court supervision, Ponta is forbidden to leave the country without the approval of the supervising prosecutor/judge, to get near to or communicate with certain persons as well as to make statements to the media about the object of the case or comment on the prosecutors building the case, other people involved in the case or the witnesses heard in the case.
The DNA prosecutors point out that there has been a practice in Romania’s politics of late involving finically wealthy people winning easy access to elective public offices by being promoted by political party leaders for the direct purpose of securing illegal funding of political parties during electioneering.
“Given that the law of political parties and successive electoral laws expressly state the funding of political parties and election campaigns, this fraudulent mechanism is able to seriously damage the idea of democracy, which ab initio entails persons vying for public offices being elected by the people according to the principle of representation, along professional performance and probity lines. Virtually any payment violating this principle is ill-gotten gain because getting a place on the tickets in a constituency guaranteeing success is conditional upon the payment being made,” DNA adds.