DNA asks pre-trial detention for two MPs in illegal forest retrocessions case

Heavy weigh tapping recordings involving Viorel Hrebenciuc revealed. 

Romania anti-corruption Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi on Friday asked for PSD MPs, Viorel Hrebenciuc and Ioan Adam to be put under pre-trial detention in the high-sounding illegal forest retrocessions case. Anti-corruption prosecutors claim Hrebenciuc “would have been co-interested” in touching local and central authorities up about the 43,000 hectares of forest illegal retrocessions, as he “would have gained 12,000 hectares of forest for himself”.

According to the law, Kovesi’s request went to Romania General Prosecutor, Tiberiu Nitu, who in his turn sent the notice to the Chamber of Deputies which is to vote in favor or against the two deputies’ immunity lift, so that they can be prosecuted.

National Anti-corruption Directorate’s report reveals that Viorel Hrebenciuc and other defendants promised Prince Paul of Romania and his wife, Princess Lia to convince the authorities to help them obtain several lands and buildings as retrocessions. Hrebenciuc and the others have been promised they would be granted valuable assets in return for their intervention. Prince Paul and his wife  have been heard on Wednesday night, but no criminal proceeding have been started against them. Instead, the couple’ s lawyer was prosecuted in this case.

According to the prosecutors’ tapping, Viorel Hrebenciuc allegedly told his party colleague Ioan Adam about the trial involving the retrocession of the 43,000 hectares: “We are at war with Romsilva. We are going to win 100%. I am going to clear up the mess 100 per cent. They are all going to like it. You’ll see”. Prosecutors said they have evidence that Hrebenciuc allegedly involved in this retrocession and would have turned to the Romsilva manager Adam Craciunescu to settle the matter. Hrebenciuc would have got to Craciunescu through Ilie Sarbu, who is said to have a great influence on Romsilva manager. As a matter of fact, DNA tapped Hrebenciuc saying to a colleague, Dan Bengescu, that he would have to talk to Ilie Sarbu so that the latter should ‘jump on Romsilva manager’s throat’ because Craciunescu is not complying with the assignments that he gave him. PSD MP Ioan Adam was also tapped saying that Hrebenciuc would have given his word to settle this matter down and make Romsilva “not to defend state forests anymore” and practically leave the justice take its course, “to split the money and that’s it”.

Anti-corruption prosecutors also claim that Hrebenciuc, Bengescu and Sorin Iacob approached Catalin Nechifor, the leader of Suceava County Council in the retrocessions matter. More precisely, Hrebenciuc and the others wanted Nechifor to buy a domain owned by Paltin Sturdza family using public funds. The domain was near Suceava Airport which is subordinated to Suceava County Council. In retort, Nechifor said he did not know of any steps to buy a land near the airport, adding that however the County Council would have not been interested in buying a property in that neighborhood.

In the same file, two businessmen were arrested on Friday while two judges with Covasna Court were placed under judicial review. A new heavy weight name popped up in this case at the same day, precisely Environment Minister Korodi Attila. DNA says the defendants claimed they could get in touch with minister Korodi to make him talk with Romsilva general manager about their problems. Korodi denied late on Friday night he have been contacted by anyone to intervene at Romsilva manager. He said the prosecutors must have referred to the talks and strategies  the defendants had in private among each other.

Asked in Arad how he is going to vote in Parliament over the prosecutors’ request, PM Victor Ponta said his job is at the Government and not to comment Justice rulings. “I am dealing with the Government, as you probably have already known. I am with the Government, they are dealing with justice matters. Let’s not get things confused”, Ponta said.

According to “Gândul” online daily, the PM Body Control investigated in the past the Ghica family’s land retrocessions where PM Ponta father-in-law, Ilie Sârbu is also prosecuted, but, according to judicial sources, the case was dropped and PM’ watch body has not filed any complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office.

codruta kovesicorruptiongeneral prosecutorioan adampre-trial detentiontiberiu nituviorel hrebenciuc
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