Former Tourism minister and Democrat Liberal politician Elena Udrea has been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption in the file related to the 2009 electoral campaign financing.
Bucharest Court of Appeal has ruled in this case on Tuesday, in which Elena Udrea and Ioana Basescu (the elder daughter of former Romanian President Traian Basescu) are charged of breaking the law during the presidential campaign in 2009 when they had raised the money for the electoral campaign of the former head of state Traian Basescu.
A month ago, during the last hearing, the case prosecutor asked maximum prison sentences, for the Elena Udrea up to 12 years in jail and up to 15 years in prison for Ioana Basescu. Prosecutors asked that Dan Andronic should be also imprisoned in this case.
Elena Udrea returned to Romania in July 2019, one year and a half after her flee to Costa Rica.
Minister of Tourism and Regional Development in 2009, Udrea was directly involved in Traian Basescu’s campaign. She was prosecuted for instigation to bribery and money laundering.
“In 2009, amid the electoral campaign for the presidential elections, sums of money originating from corruption, embezzlement and tax evasion deeds were collected and used for paying services in the electoral campaign. The link between the persons who obtained money illegally and service providers in the campaign was through Elena Udrea, who ran an informal campaign staff and who, from this position, coordinated both the purchase of the services and also the people who acted as agents for the payment,” anti-corruption prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said that the undue benefits were hidden through dummy contracts concluded with companies who were providing services for the electoral campaign, namely outdoor advertising, banners, ads in mass media, press monitoring, electoral shows or consultancy services. Udrea was accused that, during October-November 2009, determined one the ministry’s secretary general, Gheoghe Nastasia, to ask and receive almost 1 million RON from a businessman, in exchange of assigning him some contracts with the ministry. The contracts, worth EUR 50 million, had been concluded with local authorities financed by the Tourism Ministry to build ski slopes and ski lifts within the “Ski in Romania” programme.
In retort, Udrea said she was shocked by the court’s ruling. She told Antena 3 that she had returned to Romania as she was convinced things had changed in judiciary, but she found out it actually didn’t happen.
“It was a shock to me. I came back to Romania with the conviction that something had changed in the judiciary system and that you can defend yourself, which I didn’t in the Bute Gala file….to be able to bring evidence, to prove that the accusations of Mrs. Kovesi’s prosecutors are illegal, baseless. I brought all the evidence in this file. I am comfortable from this point of view that I did everything I could,” Udrea said.
Udrea added that the charges against her are “absurd”, while launching a tough attack against the female judge that pronounced the ruling. “I curse the judge that her children should feel what my child is feeling. I don’t understand how his woman can sleep at night”, Udrea lashed out, voicing hope that the sentenced will be reversed by the appeal.
Ioana Basescu was sentenced to 5 years in prison, while Dan Andronic was acquitted.