Chairman of the Romanian Social Democrat Party, Liviu Dragnea and his former faculty mate and former main shareholder of TelDrum, Mugurel Gheorghias, are suspects in a money laundering case in Brazil, according to the Brazilian federal prosecutor, Carlos Wagner Barbosa Guimarães, says Rise Project.
RISE Project and Folha de São Paolo, one of the biggest publications in Brazil, obtained the confirmation that the Brazilian authorities are investigating a case targeting Dragnea.
The Romanian Social Democrat leader is suspected that he would have used money obtained from corrupt businesses in Romania to buy properties on the beach in Cumbuco, 30 kilometers away from Fortaleza, the capital of the Ceara state.
The Brazilian prosecutors have started the investigation after their colleagues from Romania had contacted them in July last year.
The federal prosecutor from Brazil stated that they are trying to determine if Liviu Dragnea had used the so-called „oranges” to launder money and buy properties in Brazil.
In Portuguese, laranja, meaning orange, is also a term to name the „dummies”, meaning the people used to stand-in for corrupt politicians or criminals to hide their involvment in various businesses.
Thus, the two „oranges/dummies” would be Mugurel Gheorghias and a Brazilian citizen.
Gheorghias, Dragnea’s old mate and ex-main shareholder at TelDrum, the company having Liviu Dragnea behind, according to the Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors, is owning a company in Brazil that he used to buy a luxury villa on the Atlantic shore, equipped with tennis court and pool.
The journalists from Rise Project claim the villa is spoiled „Casa Grande” by Dragnea and it used to host the PSD head, late businessman Costel Comana and many other guests from Romania in several occasions.
The second „orange” investigated by the Brazilian prosecutors is the local Cauby Cursino Campos Junior, a former taxi driver who has become rich following businesses with Romanians. Campos would have signed all documents needed for the transactions carried out by Comana or Gheorghias.
Federal prosecutor Barbosa Guimarães said that it was impossible for Cauby Junior to have so much money to invest in the companies from Brazil. “We know the money came from Romania,” said the prosecutor.
The Romanian Police and the Public Ministry from Romania sent a judiciary assistance request to Brazil on July 25,2017. The request was processed by the Department for the Prejudice Recovery and International Cooperation within the Justice Ministry from Brazil and was further sent to the prosecutor’s office of the Ceara state.
Rise Project also reports that the Romanians’ investments are in Cumbuco, on the Atlantic shore, in northeastern Brazil. It was the location where Costel Comana was also investing his money. The billionaire from Brasov was also known as close to Dragnea, and had a suspicious death, he killed himself in the toilet of a plane to Costa Rica in February 2015. Comana’s properties and companies are also under investigation in Brazil.
The same source informs that Liviu Dragnea is represented in Brazil by a law firm from Portugal.
Liviu Dragnea is also investigated in Romania in TelDru file. He was prosecuted in November last year under the charges of setting up a criminal organized group, forgery and abuse of office, next to eight other people, among whom also the representatives of TelDrum.
In retort, Dragnea said on Friday that all this topic is a “réchauffé“, also denying he had bought a luxury villa in Brazil.
“I see a great desperation before the PSD Congress. What I can tell you….they caught me while selling oranges on the beach. I have only what is the wealth statement,” said Dragnea ironically.
Asked though about the law firm in Portugal that is representing him in Brazil, the PSD chairman said he prefers talking after the congress”.
As a matter of fact he insisted all the way that all this issue has something to do with the party congress due tomorrow.
“Anyone is coming up with a nonsense, I have to clarify it. You clarify it! They should clarify it! The disclosure is all accidental today before the congress (….) I understand it’s some desperation (…) we are mixing up the congress with oranges,” he stated.