Elena Udrea and Ioana Băsescu Cleared of Illegal Funding Charges in Traian Băsescu’s Election Campaign Case

The High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected ina final ruling on Thursday the extraordinary appeal filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) challenging the decision to terminate the criminal proceedings in the case of Traian Băsescu’s 2009 election campaign financing. Consequently, Elena Udrea and Ioana Băsescu, initially sentenced to 8 and 5 years in prison, respectively, are cleared of this case on the grounds that the offenses have prescribed.

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, rejected as unfounded the appeal in cassation filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate against the decision taken on July 11 by the High Court of Cassation and Justice to terminate the criminal proceedings due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

In 2017, the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) brought charges against Elena Udrea, who was Minister of Regional Development and Tourism at the time of the acts, for instigation to bribery and money laundering; Gheorghe Nastasia, former Secretary-General of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, for bribery; Victor Tarhon, former President of Tulcea County Council, also for bribery; Ioana Băsescu, a notary public and the daughter of the then-President of Romania, for instigation to embezzlement and money laundering; Silviu Wagner, former CEO of a state-majority-owned commercial company, for embezzlement; and Dan Andronic, for false testimony and aiding and abetting.

Former Minister Elena Udrea is currently serving a 6-year prison sentence in the Târgșorul Nou Women’s Penitentiary in the Gala Bute case. The final sentence was issued in June 2018 and confirmed in April 2022 by rejecting an annulment appeal.

Following the final decision in the Gala Bute case, Udrea attempted to flee the country and was apprehended in Bulgaria, where she spent over two months in custody during the extradition process. She was brought back to Romania on June 16, 2022, and incarcerated at the Târgșor Penitentiary.

On March 2, 2021, Elena Udrea was sentenced by the Bucharest Court of Appeal to 8 years in prison in the case where she was accused of instigating bribery and money laundering regarding the financing of the 2009 election campaign. Ioana Băsescu, the daughter of former President Traian Băsescu, received a 5-year prison sentence for instigating embezzlement and money laundering.

Dan Andronic was acquitted of charges of false testimony and aiding and abetting. He is the only defendant in this case for whom the court ordered acquittal.

The decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeal was not final and was appealed.

The appeal in cassation is an extraordinary legal remedy through which the DNA sought to annul the decision by which Ioana Băsescu and Elena Udrea were cleared of their prison sentences. The National Anticorruption Directorate’s action came in the context of the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, stating that Romanian courts have the possibility not to apply decisions by the Constitutional Court and the High Court of Cassation and Justice regarding the expiration of the statute of limitations if it violates EU law. It should be noted that on July 24, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided, following a referral from the Brasov Court of Appeal, that decisions to terminate criminal proceedings due to prescription are contrary to European law.

2009criminal proceedingselectoral campaignelena udreaextraordinary appealfinancingHigh Court of Cassation and Justiceioana basescunational anticorruption directorate dnaprisontraian basescu
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