Former Constanta PSD leader Nicusor Constantinescu, sentenced to prison in a new file

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Former chairman of the Constanta County Council, Nicusor Constantinescu, has been sentenced by the Constanta Tribunal to four years in prison in the file regarding the purchase of med-evac helicopter within a cross-border programme. The court’s ruling is not final and can be appealed within 10 days.

Constatinescu is serving a 7-year prison sentence after getting final rulings in two other cases.

The former local SocDem leader from Constanta is now sentenced for abuse of office in continued form. At the same time, the court ruled that Constantinescu must pay RON 1 million as civil damages, as the helicopter crushed into a lake in December 2014 claiming four lives.

In June 2015,  anti-corruption prosecutors from Constanta sent Nicuşor Constantinescuto court in this case. According to the indictment, in 2011, Constanta County Council, led by Nicusor Constantinescu bought a med-evac helicopter within a cross-border operational programme to improve the rescue operations in case of emergency situation in the border area of the county (the programme targete the cross border cooperation between the county of Constanta, Romania and the Dobrich district, Bulgaria).

In March 2013, defendant Nicusor Constantinescu illegally assigned to a public procurement contract to a private company to operate the med-evac helicopter. The assignment was breaking the specifications of the helicopter, which should be used in emergency intervention operations, despite that SMURD had previously submitted a bid to operate the med-evac helicopter for free, DNA says.

So, Constatinescu gave the helicopter to be operated by this private company although the company had never been part of the partnerships agreement base don which the non-refundable financing had been obtained to purchase the helicopter. The former Constanta leader had practically paid about RON 1 M illegally of the county council’s public funds, representing expenses of maintenance and operation of the air vehicle.

In November 2014, the County Council transferred the med-evac helicopter to the Inspectorate of Civil Aviation so that it can be used by SMURD. At that time, the helicopter had 180 hours of flight.

On December 15, 2014, the helicopter crashed in the Siutghoil Lake in Mamaia seaside resort and all four people aboard died, pilot Petre Corneliu Cătuneanu, co-pilot Ginel Claudiu Crăcănel, doctorl Laura Vizireanu and nurse Gabriela Camelia Harton. Read more about this tragedy here.

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