The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors are seizing over RON 127 million (over EUR 27 M) from the wealth of Chamber of Deputies Speaker Liviu Dragnea in the Tel Drum file. Dragnea went to the DNA office on Tuesday evening where he had been summoned by the prosecutors to be informed about the seizure. The Social Democrat leader is indicted in this file for setting up a criminal organized group, abuse of office and EU funds embezzlement.
Dragnea made no statements at the DNA HQs, with 20 gendarmes being deployed to ease his way into the building. He arrived at the DNA around 17:30 where he was welcomed by several supporters who applauded him, but also by protesters who booed him and asked his resignation. Among the followers there was the PSD secretary general, Marian Neacsu, who said that any person summoned at such a repressive body as DNA needs support.
Maria Vasii, Liviu Dragnea’s lawyer, said that the PSD chairman would challenge the seizure measure in court.
DNA also ordered seizure on the wealth of Florea Neda, Tel Drum’s representative, up to about RON 31.3 M. Three former public servants of the Teleorman County Council at the time of the deeds were also informed about DNA’s seizure on their assets: RON 127.5 M to be seized from Mugur Bataus, RON 64 M from Victor Piperea and RON 32.2 M from Marin Predescu.
The prosecutors are trying to recover the damages in the file amounting to EUR 20 million and RON 30 million in this case.
The DNA has officially announced on November 13 that Liviu Dragnea is criminally prosecuted for abuse of office, embezzlement of EU funds and setting up an organized criminal group while he was head of the Teleorman County Council. The charges were related to favouring TelDrum, the company rumoured it would have been set up by Liviu Dragnea, in assigning some contracts.
Marian Fiscuci, former owner of Tel Drum, was also heard by the DNA, being charged with the setting up of an organised criminal group. Eight people are prosecuted in the file.
Anti-corruption prosecutors revealed that there are two ongoing files related to Tel Drum, with the criminal prosecution started in the first one against the company, as legal person, while the second case is targeting the deeds allegedly committed by the PSD chair Liviu Dragnea, during the time when he was chairman of the Teleorman County Council.
In retort, PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea said that the DNA’s seizure is ‘a way to block the justice laws’, while accusing that the information has been released according to sources “on illegal and unofficial channels”.
“Those who are against me are hiding behind some institutions, but I told my colleagues to set aside those things against me and to move on. The seizure on life is probably next,” Dragnea ironically commented.
The Tel Drum file includes the fraud amounting to EUR 21 million, European money to be paid by the Romanian state.
In 2016, the European Commission, upon the notification from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), requested Romania to apply financial corrections, which were accepted by the state, ziare.com informs.
“The Commission received the OLAF recommendations regarding the cases mentioned by you in 2016. According to these recommendations, the Commissions’ services requested Romania to apply the necessary corrections so that the EU budget is not affected. Romania agreed to apply the corrections. We have a sound system to combat fraud, in close collaboration with the Member States. This case shows that the system is working,” a European Commission spokesman has told hotnews.ro on Tuesday.
Thus, the fraud signalled by OLAF in the Tel Drum case, worth EUR 21 million, will be covered by the Romanian state from the tax-payers’ money, the source added.
Business goes on
Despite the judicial issues in which the company is involved, Tel Drum has a RON 42 million (VAT included) contract for the snow removal in Teleorman County, realitatea.net informs.
The company has announced on Monday the concluding and signing of 57 framework agreements and subsequent contracts for snow removal during the winter of 2017-2018.
The Road Company (CNAIR) representatives have published all the snow removal contracts valid until 2020.
In Teleorman County, Tel Drum won the snow removal contracts for the next four years worth RON 35.576 million (without VAT) in a contract signed in August 2016, the same source informs.