After The High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court) has ruled on Thursday, in first court, to acquit former Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, and former Transport Minister, Dan Sova in the Turceni-Rovinari file, the Supreme Court has made a new move on Friday and acquitted former constitutional judge Toni Grebla in the corruption file opened by DNA agains thim, along with four other defendants. The ruling is not final yet, can be challenged by the anti-corruption prosecutors.
Grebla, also former PSD senator, is accused that he pretended and received goods and services as bribe from businessman Ion Bîrcină to help the latter obtain some contracts in the energy and scrap iron fields. More precisely, Grebla promised Bîrcină he will intercede with public servants from the state companies, ministries and central and local authorities so tat the businessman should get these contracts.
During the last hearing of this trial on March 27, the anti-corruption prosecutors asked that Toni Grebla should be sentenced to prison for influence peddling, forgery and for setting up an organized criminal group and for making financial operations incompatible with his position.
On the other hand, Grebla’s lawyers argued that her client has been a target and asked that all physical evidence should be removed from the file, meaning the tapings, invoking a ruling by the Constitutional Court that says that all that proves to be illegal in the indictment must be taken out from the trials.
He was indicted in September 2015.
Toni Grebla has retorted that the ruling proves that magistrates have judged based on the evidence and not by the fact that he has been a target of DNA-SRI. „After a 35-year-activity I had to interrupt any activity for they told me I am not allowed to contact anyone,” Grebla told Antena 3 privat broadcaster.
Asked if he has been a target because of the Big Brother laws on which CCR was to pronounce a ruling, Grebla said: „Coldea (ex-SRI deputy director Florian Coldea) and others from SRI, together with DNA felt that the Big Brother laws were very useful to do summary executions and were mad about that. The effort they had put in taping equipment and programs mounted to over USD 200 million, so they had to set a good example to CCR and they set it through me”.
The former constitutional judge also said he had been mostly disturbed that he had been shown as handcuffed and that the file had affected his family.
He added that the fact that his acquittal comes one day after a similar situation in former PM Ponta’s case proves that „judges are more concerned about finding the truth lately than punishing”.
In Grebla’s view, although the ruling is not final in his case, it’s hard to believe that the appeal solution will be other than acquittal.
The National Anti-corruption Directorate claims that during electoral campaigns in 2008-2012 senator Toni Grebla used to receive EUR 100,000 electoral undue benefits from Ion Bircin, EUR 50,000 for each campaign.
Prosecutors say Toni Grebla used to promise in exchange to determine various clerks within the national companies or the local and central public authorities to hurry the release of some documents in the benefit the companies controlled by Bircin in various fields of activity: energy, constructions, transport, waste iron.
Grebla is also charged that, during 2009-2015, he omitted to say in the wealth statements as senator and CC judge that he acquired a 10,000-sqm land in Gorj County by donation from a relative.
Toni Grebla was remanded while he was a constitutional judge, with DNA accusing him of supporting illegal exports in Russia and with helping his godson to get several contracts for his company in exchange for a car and dresses for his wife. Grebla was detained for these charges and moreover for a new accusation saying that he would have tried to sell, by inter agents, 50 goats that did not belong to him. This new charge came following a denunciation.
Grebla was also investigated for allegedly receiving electoral campaign materials during 2012, a BMW car and two dresses for his wife from his godson, businessman Ion Bircina, to intervene in support of the latter’s companies.
Toni Grebla submitted his resignation early February 2015 in the Constitutional Court plenum, citing pressure on the institution in connection with the performance of his duties after the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) began prosecution for corruption against him.