Andrei Hrebenciuc, arrested for 24 hours in retrocessions case

Yesterday searched, today retained: Andrei Hrebenciuc, Viorel Hrebenciuc’s son, behind bars for 24 hours. The same goes for Paltin Sturdza, luckiest Dumitru Iliescu is under bull’s eye, yet free.

Hands in handcuffs notwithstanding a temporary decision, Andrei Hrebenciuc, the son of PSD MP Viorel Hrebenciuc, has been detained by the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Direction (DNA) Brasov on Thursday morning. Hrebenciuc Senior declared, on his way inside the DNA branch, that they are both innocent. Andrei Hrebenciuc was heard for five continuous hours by the prosecutors.

Viorel Hrebenciuc and his son arrived at DNA Brasov around 4 am. At the entrance, Viorel Hrebenciuc stated that DNA’s real target is Victor Ponta and his candidacy for Presidency. In reply, PM Ponta stated, when asked if he considers himself to be “DNA’s target”, that he’s “no one’s target”, adding, ironically: “I think everyone supports and loves me”.

Both Hrebenciuc Senior and Junior have had a white night at DNA Brasov, after the searches executed a day ahead by the prosecutors at Andrei’s office.

According to the DNA report, Andrei Hrebenciuc was involved in the retrocessions’ business through his father and he was used as intermediary for bribery. Twelve thousands forest hectares would have followed to become Viorel Hrebenciuc’s property via his son. “The particular economic stake associated to the transfer of the respective area from the state’s patrimony to private property is represented by the counter value of the aimed lands, which amounts to approximately EUR 450 million. (…)” the referral shows. At the same time, Andrei Hrebenciuc would have helped his father to hide the provenance of the land received in exchange of the MP’s interventions, the company which was supposed to buy the forests from Sturdza having as single partner a company headquartered in Cyprus which, in its turn, has as partner the MP’s son.

Andrei Hrebenciuc was the boyfriend of the president’s daughter, Elena Basescu, for one year. A situation which Traian Basescu didn’t like.

DNA asked for notice from the Chamber of Deputies in order to get Viorel Hrebenciuc under preventive arrest, in the new file but also in the one he is prosecuted in alongside PSD MP Ioan Adam for illegal forests’ retrocessions. Viorel Hrebenciuc resigned on Tuesday from Parliament.

On the other hand, the prosecutors also show that “under the protection and the pretext of some representation warrants given by the suspect named Sturdza, the charged persons have effectuated any kind of demarche, including illegal ones, in order to serve the group’s purpose (bribery, influence peddling, influence purchase)”.

Who else behind bars

The hearings in the illegal retrocessions’ file have been ongoing the whole day on Thursday. Besides Andrei Hrebenciuc, Paltin Gheorghe Sturdza, also involved in the file, was heard for five hours at DNA Brasov and afterwards detained for other 24 hours. According to the prosecutors, Sturdza would have illegally obtained over 40.000 hectares of forest, having been helped by two magistrates in this case. DNA Brasov has also started the prosecution of Carmen Elisabeta Dragoi and the attorneys Nicolae Mergeani and Victor Adrian Prodan, all being accused of money laundering.

Not yet under arrest, the former chief of the Protection and Security Service Dumitru Iliescu, via whom Viorel Hrebenciuc would have found out that he was being intercepted, will be prosecuted in freedom. He left on Wednesday evening the DNA headquarters after having been heard for two and a half hours in the new file in which PSD MP Viorel Hrebenciuc is also prosecuted.

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