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DIICOT remakes investigation in the Romgaz file

DIICOT remakes investigation in the Romgaz file

The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) will remake investigation in the Romgaz file, where businessman Ioan Niculae and former Economy minister Adriean Videanu are investigated.

After more than 4 years of investigations, the indictment that said that Niculae and Videanu were to be prosecuted has been cancelled, as it contains several irregularities.

Ioan Niculae was prosecuted along with other 40 people, public servants from the helm of Romgaz National Company, Economy Ministry, the National Authority for Energy Regulation (ANRE), as well as representatives of a private company in Bucharest, under the charges of plot and undermining the national economy. Among the people investigated is also the former minister of Economy and ex-high ranking Democrat Liberal official, Adriean Videanu.

Initially, the investigation also targeted another former Economy minister, Varujan Vosganian, but he got away with this file after the Senate vetoed the DIICOT prosecution requests against him twice, in 2013 and 2015.

According to DIICOT, during December 2006-December 2008, Varujan Vosganian and during December 2008-September 2010, Adriean Videanu, as ministers, approved, signed and endorsed six decrees and three memorandums in the Government, in the view of supporting the financial interests of the criminal group set up by Ioan Niculae and used Romgaz (national unit of strategic interest) for the private interest of Interagro, by giving substantial commercial discounts for natural gas delivery to this company owned by Niculae. They also ordered that Interagro should receive natural gases exclusively from the domestic production given the fact that Interagro registered historical debits for the consumed gas payment.

Moreover, organized crime prosecutors claim that Interagro registered a debt representing about 70% of the national company’s annual budget, with Romgaz main activities being seriously affected. Therefore, Romgaz was practically turned into the supplier of “a privileged private client” and the national energy system on natural gas sector has been jeopardized.

Prosecutors also say that through ministers Videanu and Vosganian’s activity, meaning by preferentially selling massive gas quantities to Interagro, Niculae’s company has achieved a real monopoly position on the natural gas market.

Moreover, as Romgaz and the Economy ministry were state entities with responsibilities in energy, significant risks for Romania’s energy security have been created by using Romgazi in Interagro’s favour.

The prosecutors’ indictment adds that Romgaz delivered natural gas from its own production worth USD 500 M, with USD 92 M representing the value of the commercial discounts illegally granted.

About Alina Grigoras Butu