Elena Udrea targeted in “Bute Gala” file. Anti-corruption prosecutors asks for her and ex-economy minister Ariton’s immunity lifting

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Former president of the Romanian Box Federation, Rudel Obreja detained on Monday evening.

Romania’s Prosecutor General Tiberiu Nitu on Monday sent to the Parliament the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s request to start prosecution against Elena Udrea, deputy and former Regional Development and Tourism minister, charged with abuse of office, attempt of false documents or statements in a new file related to “Bute Gala” boxing event organized by the Tourism ministry headed by Udrea. According to DNA, there are suspicions that the Tourism Ministry used alleged illegal funds from its budget coming from EU funding during 2010-2012 for the above-mentioned event.

Among others, Udrea is charged with abuse of office regarding an advertisement contract worth RON 10 M signed on June 24, 2011 that the Tourism Ministry assigned to a private IT company, SC. Europlus Computers Ltd for promoting the events within the boxing gala event. Investigators claim that the legal public auction procedures have been broken through this contract, as several services would have been acquired without being eligible for European funding programmes.

DNA also argues that the former Tourism minister Elena Udrea decided to organize “Bute Gala” following talks with the former head of the Romanian Box Federation, Rudel Obreja and asked her subordinates to find solutions to conclude the contract for the event’s financing, by pursuing gaining electoral benefits. “Considering that boxer Lucian Bute was one of the Romanian most popular personalities, Udrea Elena had a direct interest to organize the gala event, pursuing to gain electoral benefits by associating her image to the one of the sportsman. At the same time, these facts brought undue benefits to Obreja Rudel, who was provided with public funds to organize an event whose incomes have exclusively been drawn to him,” reads the press release issued by the anti-corruption body.

As for the former Economy minister Ion Ariton, he would have made ten state companies, among which Hidroelectrica, Nuclearelectrica and Romgaz, illegally sponsor the “Bute Gala” event with over RON 1.7 million.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have also conducted 18 searches in Bucharest, Ilfov, Prahova, Hundeoara and Gorj on Monday, at the headquarters of several companies and persons suspected of corruption in “Bute Gala” case.

Judicial sources told Mediafax that searches have targeted Rudel Obreja’s place, mayor of Lupeni town in Hunedoara, Cornel Resmerita and Stefan Lungu, Elena Udrea’ s former adviser at the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry, Gheorghe Nastasia, former secretary general with the Tourism ministry and businessman Adrian Gardean who is controlling the Termogaz stock company. Eight persons have been taken for hearing at the DNA headquarters. Following searches, Rudel Obreja has beed detained by anti-corruption prosecutors.

The former president of the Romanian Box Federation, Rudel Obreja was prosecuted for corruption in November 2013 in the “Bute Gala” file. The representatives of the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry, of the Economy Ministry and of the Box Federation have been cleared of all charges back then.

What Udrea says

Elena Udrea retorted to this new file’ charges that they are related to the statements she made about the Romanian Intelligence Service interim director, Florian Coldea, on Friday.

“I admit, I am guilty for wanting what other millions of Romanians also wanted, to see Lucian Bute boxing in Romania (….) All that the Regional Development and Tourism Ministry has done was to buy advertisement for the gala.

It is obvious this file showed up following my statements about Coldea on Friday. You cannot conduct searches four years after the event. I think it is an attempt to intimidate me and I am expecting anything. It is an attempt to denigrate me. At this moment, I can’t trust anyone. I feel much safer under the police surveillance. I rather be monitored,” Udrea said.

 

 

 

 

 

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