Former FM, MEP Adrian Severin, sentenced to 4 years in prison

Former FM, MEP Adrian Severin, sentenced to 4 years in prison

Adrian Severin, former MEP and Foreign Minister will serve four years in prison for influence peddling and bribery, the final decision was announced on Wednesday by the High Court for Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court). Severin is to be imprisoned. The ruling is final.

The last hearings in the file were conducted on Monday. Severin told the judges that the lawsuit is a political one.

“The recording was submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office without authenticity, the journalists have admitted it was ‘accidentally’ altered. I could have made the deal and it was no problem to get a sentence on parole. I cannot cooperate after 25 years during which I made so much for this country. I am the poorest politician in Romania. I’ve sacrificed my family, my friends. I can’t cooperate with the idea that Romania has sent a thief in one of the most important offices. I defended some people’s rights, how can I tell them who defended their rights? Please, assume this responsibility, I can’t do it. This is a historic lawsuit and a political lawsuit. Please take this into consideration,” Adrian Severin told the judges.

The DNA prosecutors asked for a tougher sentence of 6 years and 6 months for bribery and 5 years for influence peddling.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice ruled on February 23, 2016 that former MEP Adrian Severin should be sentenced to 3 years and 3 months in prison for bribe taking and influence peddling.

Anti-corruption prosecutors say that during December 2010-March 2011, MEP Adrian Severin accepted the promise of the two persons to pay him EUR 100,000 annually in exchange for his tabling certain amendments in the specialist committees of the European Parliament.

Investigators say that, in exchange for the money, Severin would have accepted to veto several amendments that did not comply with the interests of the company allegedly represented by those two persons, who were actually undercover reporters working for the “Sunday Times”.

In July last year prosecutors extended investigation on Severin over complicity to money laundering in a file targeting an illegal offset case involving two of his advisors during his MEP term. Prosecutors also ordered the seizure of his accounts and on his salary.

The case is related to a study on relations between NATO and EU conducted by Romanian experts. Prosecutors says that during March 2007-November 2010 Adrian Severin concluded 20 consultancy contracts, on his behalf or as representative of the political group that he belonged to in the European Parliament, with several companies especially set up to justify these fictional contract for services, consisting of studies’ drafting.

During the same period, two of Severin’s advisers, Anne Rose Marie Juganaru and Leontin Abraham acted in the view of dissimulating the illegal origin of the money derived from fraudulent expense accounts from the European Parliament’s budget. More precisely, RON 586, 350 had been gradually transferred to a foundation by signing fictional contracts related to staff training.

Adrian Severin said he never received the money and that it was discounted from the EP budget based on legal documents./IBNA