The mayor of sector 5, Cristian Popescu Piedone, was detained on Friday by the anti-corruption prosecutors from Otopeni Airport and was taken to the National Anticorruption Directorate for hearings based on a warrant.
The mayor was preparing to leave the country four days before the court issued a final decision in the Colectiv case, in which he had already been sentenced prison in the first instance.
The mayor was at the airport preparing to leave for Germany. Just as he was to board the plane, he was stopped by DNA prosecutors who detained him based on an arrest warrant. Prosecutors took Piedone for hearings to the DNA.
According to Digi24, he was brought in connection with a new file, recently opened in his name, which refers to suspicions of corruption. The investigation is in its early stage.
Upon exit from the DNA’s HQ, the mayor of District 5, Cristian Piedone recounted how he wastaken up by investigators – he had boarded the plane to Munich, a bomb alert was announced, he was evacuated with all passengers, and before boarding the bus to return to the airport was taken by a police officer. He says that the investigation concerns a contract concluded with the sanitation company Rebu and claims that his whistleblower was the former mayor of the District 5, Daniel Florea, who is “upset that his ribs were taken from the beans”.
Asked what kind of contract it was with Rebu, Piedone only said that it had been concluded by his predecessor Daniel Florea, who, Piedone says, “was probably very upset when I spotted a lot of irregularities”.
Piedone said he is no fugitive and that he was just going to Florence, Italy, with his wife and that he had boarded a Lufthansa plane, with a stopover in Munich.
“Tuesday is the decision in the Colectiv case. There have been countless postponements. I am not a fugitive. I am waiting for my sentence with my head held high. At the spikes they have taken, they are afraid that Piedone will also run away. ..) I am not a fugitive, I am waiting with dignity for the court’s sentence “, added the mayor of sector 5.
Final ruling in the Colectiv case expected on May 3
Piedone was detained by prosecutors four days before the Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled in the Collective case in which in the first instance he had been sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison for abuse of office. The charges were related to the authorization he granted, in his capacity of District 4 mayor, to the Colectiv club, although the venue was not complying with all safety rules.
62 people, mostly youngsters died in the fire on the Colectiv club in Bucharest on October 30, 2015, while another 150 were seriously injured due to severe burns or smoke inhalation.
The Colectiv trial ended on December 21, 2021, and the Bucharest Court of Appeal postponed on April 15 – for the fourth time – the sentencing. The next deadline for the final decision has been set for May 3. The decision would come after more than 5 years of trials, during which time the court became embroiled in proceedings. The magistrates invoked the “special complexity of the case” and blamed the lawyers for the successive postponements.
At the end of the trial, on December 21, 2021, the defendants’ lawyers requested the payment or application of milder sentences, considering that the prosecutors were wrong when they decided to sue their clients, but also the magistrates of the Bucharest Tribunal, when they handed down sentences with execution.
On the other hand, the prosecutors demanded punishments “oriented towards the maximum provided by law” and with execution for the former mayor of Sector 4 of the Capital Cristian Popescu-Piedone, City Hall officials, club owners, two firefighters, two pyrotechnicians and representatives of a fireworks company, arguing that the social order was “altered” by corruption, and people burned. “We are not talking about two, we are talking about a cemetery,” investigators said.
Following the tragedy in the Colectiv club, Cristian Popescu Piedone resigned from his position as District 4 mayor, but he ran again in the local elections in 2020 and he even won another mayor seat, this time at District 5.