DNA asks jail sentence for ex-Liberal leader Vasile Blaga and seizure of EUR 700,000

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Anti-corruption prosecutors have asked on Friday during the last hearing in the file where former Liberal chairman Vasile Blaga is tried for influence peddling that Blaga should be imprisoned. At the same time, the prosecutors want him to be stripped of the right to be a party member and to be named in public positions, as well as the seizure of EUR 700,000.

The Bucharest Tribunal announced it would pronounce the ruling in this case on October 30.

Former Democrat Liberal PM Emil Boc and ex-minister Adriean Videanu were also heard at the Friday’s court hearing.

I said I have never heard of Horaţiu Berdilă (editor note- businessman, also defendant in this file for allegedly bribing Vasile Blaga). The donations in PDL (former Democrat Liberal Party that merged with PNL) were usually filed at the party’s HQs, at the booking office (…) the money was registered in the party’s books, was published in the Official Gazette, if it was higher than a certain value. The appointment in a political position has never been conditioned in the party on paying money. I don’t know there has been such thing in PDL,” said ex-premier Emil Boc after the hearing.

Vasile Blaga, former chairman of the Democrat Liberal Party and later co-chairman of National Liberal Party, was sent to court in November last year under the charge of taking a bribe of EUR 700,000 from a private company in exchange for exerting his influence to help that company obtain contracts with two national companies.

“During 2011-2012, as secretary general of a party that was at rule, defendant Vasile Blaga received the total sum of EUR 700,000 in four trenches from a private company represented by defendant Horatiu Berdilă, in exchange for exerting his influence through the defendant Gheorghe Stefan (PDL vice-president at that time) on another person who had held leadership positions at two national companies, so that Berdilă’s company should obtain contracts with the two national companies,” reads the prosecutors’ indictment.

The National Anti-corruption Directorate, Blaga received EUR 500,000 through the former mayor of Piatra Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan and EUR 200,000 through another person.

The prosecutors also claim that Gheorghe Ștefan and Vasile Blaga used several shadow companies in order to take money from the national companies for the Democrat Liberal Party.

Prosecutors say that there would have been an agreement in this respect between the two PDL leaders in 2009.

“According to this agreement, taking money out of the national companies for the party was to be enforced by appointing some persons close to the party in the management of the national companies subordinated to the ministries, with the help of the politically designated ministers, and thus public procurement contracts were to be assigned to certain companies willing to contribute to the party. In this respect, Gheorghe Stefan determined important decision makers in the resort ministries to name a certain person at the helm of a national energy company. That person was willing to indirectly contribute to finance the party with various sums of money, by preferentially assigning some public procurement contracts to certain private companies,” says DNA.

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