Anti-corruption prosecutors closed down high-sounding EADS file

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The National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) has closed down the EADS file in early November, the institution explaining that the deeds for which the criminal prosecution had started doesn’t exist anymore and that there is no evidence proving the defendants would have committed corruption crimes. Therefore, former Interior minister Vasile Blaga, ex-tennis player Dinu Pescariu, businessman Dinu Florica and former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Catalin Harnagea, get away with the charges.

The anti-corruption prosecutors have closed down the file on November 5, 2018 (…) The grounds for closing the file were that following investigations, there was no evidence that, beyond any reasonable doubt, the alleged deeds provide the conditions they are corruption crimes,” reads a DNA press release.

DNA also argues that a Constitutional Court ruling of 2016 has been also considered. The decision no 405 dating back in June 2016 refers to the procedure of signing contracts to conduct feasibility studies and to make an integrated system on Romania’s state frontier.

The EADS file was one of the high sounding cases regarding the big corruption involving officials in Romania. However, as time went by, the case has slowly deflated and prosecutors have not reported anymore how the investigations were going on.

It all started in May 2004 when EADS French-German group signed a contract worth EUR 1 billion with the Interior Ministry to secure borders, as Romania was preparing to join the European Union and securing borders was a prerequisite.

The fist inquiry related to this contract kicked off in 2005 following a notification filed by the former interior ministry leadership that the public funds would have been used improperly and that the value of the contract with the EADS would have been overrated.

The Interior Ministry argued that the negotiation of the contract had been done in euros, mounting to EUR 650 million, without yet mentioning in detail the goods and services that were to be provided. When the Government assigned this contract, without any tender, the deal also included the provision of  tools and logistics to monitor the country’s borders and also the modernization of helicopters, ships and endowment of the border policemen.

The mass media used to report back then that the conditions of signing the EADS contract had prompted discontent among politicians.

The EADS contract was declassified in February 2005, by a decision of the prime minister back then, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, and a discount of EUR 100 million was obtained after negotiations had been resumed. The contract stipulated that EADS had to provide equipment of monitoring and securing 3,147 kilometers of Romanian frontier.

Years have passed by and prosecutors resumed the investigation in 2013-2014 after they would have tracked down new connections, as the EADS file had lot of aspects in common with another high-sounding case, Microsoft. So, DNA started to probe into fraudulent contracts concluded during 2001-2013.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have investigated overall four contracts inked by the Education, Communications and Interior ministries related to Microsoft licenses, and EADS and SIVECO systems. The most important case by far was the EADS one, as there were suspicions related to huge amounts of money received by the Romanian officials as bribe in exchange of granting this contract to EADS. Investigators claimed that some IT programmes would have been bought at overrated prices, including the IT system to secure he state borders.

The Microsoft contracts, which kicked off in the time when Adrian Nastase was prime minister, but they had been extended by all governments for ten years. Some politicians and businessmen investigated in the Microsoft file would have also been related to the EADS inquiry.

Prosecutors were probing into such criminal deeds as influence peddling, abuse of office, bribe taking, bribery. DNA said the bribe in the EADS and Microsoft case had mounted to EUR 60 million.

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