The National Liberal Party co-chair Vasile Blaga was placed under judicial control on Wednesday in an influence peddling case, while also announcing he resigned from the party’s helm and from the position of campaign head for parliamentary elections.
He says he will prove his innocence.
“Following charges against me, I will prove my innocence to the empowered institutions. I am the guarantor of observing the PNL Statute and of all the party’s decisions. I cannot ask my colleagues to respect the integrity standards, while I won’t. Therefore, I file my resignation today from the position of co-chair of the National Liberal Party and from the one of campaign head for the parliamentary elections this year,” reads Blaga in a press statement, adding: “I will prove my innocence. I won’t make any further comments on this topic,” Blaga told journalists. The Liberal head also revealed he would not run for a new MP seat.
Vasile Blaga was subpoenaed as suspect in a corruption case at the DNA Ploiesti on Wednesday. The corruption charges against him would refer to the 2009-2012 period when Vasile Blaga was MP and also Interior minister.
According to judiciary sources, prosecutors talk about commissions of 10 percent for several contracts with the state, which would have been cashed in on this influence peddling network so that certain companies could benefit of the public money. The investigation also reveals that the sums would have mounted to hundreds of thousand euros.
Later on, after the hearing, the anti-corruption prosecutors officialy informed that Vasile Blaga is charged with influence peddling. More precisely, they claim that Blaga would have made a deal with the former mayor of Piatra Neamt, Gheorghe Stefan, to obtain money for the party, through a company that was helped to win contacts with the state. The anti-corruption investigators talk about EUR 700,000 received by Blaga and a total of RON 25 M raised by ex-mayor Gheorghe Stefan for the party (the Democrat Liberal Party, which subsequently merged with the National Liberal Party- editor’s note).
On the other side, Vasile Blaga denied having received any commissions. Last year, he also denied his involvement in the assignment of public contracts after the former Finance minister Darius Valcov had denounced him to the anti-corruption body.
Judicial sources disclosed that Blaga refused to make any statement to the prosecutors during the hearing. “Today, Mr. Blaga observed his right to defend himself in his interest,” said his lawyer, Cristian Ene. The lawyer also announced that Blaga would challenge the judicial control at the Supreme Court.
Elena Udrea, former Democrat Liberal member and former minister was also summoned for hearings as a witness in this case.
Vasile Blaga was subpoenaed at DNA as witness last week, as well, when he was questioned on his car whis had been involved in a minor accident a month ago.
Blaga said he had asked an acquaintance to start the car’s engine. The acquaintance was the head of Bihor Police, Liviu Popa and when he started the engine, a minor collision occurred. The policeman said after the accident that it was nothing serious and that he wanted to overtake a truck.