Former Economy minister Vosganian escapes prosecution following Senate dismissal vote

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President Iohannis slams the decision.

On Thursday the Romanian Senate voted down the Prosecutor’s Office’s prosecution request against Liberal Senator Varujan Vosganian, with 71 votes to 56, in a secret ballot session, parliamentary sources told Mediafax.

The Directorate for Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation (DIICOT) asked for Vosganian prosecution on February 2. He is charged with setting up a criminal organized group, abuse of office and complicity to embezzlement in the Romgaz File. More precisely, prosecutors claim that, during his Economy minister term on December 2006-December 2008, Vosganian forced national state owned company Romgaz to sell has for underrated costs for the chemical fertilizer companies owned by businessman Ioan Nicolae.

Before the vote, Vosganian pleaded innocent in front of his colleagues, arguing the charges against him represent political decisions in the economic field. He underlined that his actions related to the Romanian chemical industry’s supporting in 2008 were made on the strength of his minister position and cannot be criminally charged for these.

The Senate plenum’s vote is conflicting with Tuesday’s Legal Committee decision, as it has given the green light for Vosganian’s prosecution.

In an unprecedented move, President Iohannis slammed the senators’ decision regarding Vosganian, the more the former minister is a member of the National Liberal Party, a party that Iohannis has run for several months.

„I expected the Senate to vote for the DIICOT prosecution request in the case of PNL senator Varujan Vosganian. The Senators’ vote shows that the need of change, for which I lobbied so much during the consultations with the parliamentary parties, as well as during my speech in the Parliament, was not completely understood. In front of the Justice, there is not but one single measure: respect for the act of law, regardless of the person or his position,” Iohannis posted on Facebook while in Brussels.

Technology also helped PM Victor Ponta to spread his retort. Although he is on a working visit to the USA, Ponta tweeted that “the vote in Vosganian’s case is a huge error and an inconsistence.” “The new Blaga/Gorghiu/Geoan?/Vanghelie alliance is unveiling its priorities,” also reads the PM message via Tweeter.

As for the Liberal Party’s co-president, Alina Gorghiu, she seemed to stand on the defence. Gorghiu admitted the vote of the Liberals was “an accident” and a totally unacceptable situation”.

 

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