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Direcția Națională Anticorupție

MINISTERUL PUBLIC

PARCHETUL

DE PE LÂNGĂ

ÎNALTA CURTE DE CASAȚIE ȘI JUSTIȚIE

 
IMPARȚIALITATE·INTEGRITATE·EFICIENȚĂ

June, 5th, 2015
No. 1026/VIII/3

Press Release


Concerning the criminal case presented by the press release no. 494/VIII/3 from March 13th 2015, regarding alleged offences assimilated to those of corruption committed to the energy companies Turceni and Rovinari in connection with the closing of several legal assistance contracts, the Office for Information and Public Relations is authorized to state as follows:

1. The prosecutors of the Section for Combating the Offences Assimilated to Those of Corruption have ordered the start of the criminal investigation against Ponta Victor-Viorel, who was a lawyer at the time the offences were committed, the legal representative of the Private Legal Practice “Ponta Victor-Viorel” and who is currently the Prime Minister of Romania. Ponta Victor-Viorel has been charged with the following offences:

- forgery of documents using the personal signature (17 offences)
- complicity to tax evasion committed through repeated acts
- money laundering

The prosecutors’ ordinance shows that there are data and clues leading to the reasonable suspicion that a significant amount of the money obtained by SCA “Șova and Associates” from the two energy companies (Turceni and Rovinari) was meant exclusively for the personal interest of Șova Dan-Coman and his entourage.

On May 6th 2015, while investigating the aspects regarding the contractual connections of the law firm SCA “Șova and Associates”, the prosecutors ordered the relevant fiscal authority to submit all the existing documents regarding the fiscal inspection activities conducted to the private legal practice “Ponta Victor Viorel”.
Once these documents were analyzed, taking into consideration the evidence that had already been gathered, the following state of facts resulted:

On August 30th 2007, a professional collaboration agreement was concluded between SCA “Șova and Associates” represented by Șova Dan-Coman and the Private Legal Practice “Ponta Victor-Viorel” represented by Ponta Victor-Viorel. The object of this agreement was for the two parties to collaborate in the cases dealing with penal issues, business criminal law, as well as other cases if necessary. The agreement was concluded for an unlimited period of time and for the professional activities conducted in collaboration it provided for the fees to be received by the law firm and the lawyer Ponta Victor-Viorel had to receive a fixed amount of €2,000, for which the latter had to issue a monthly invoice.
Starting with April 2008, an addendum to the agreement was introduced increasing the amount to €3,000 /month as fee for the lawyer Ponta Victor-Viorel.
The collaboration agreement ended in December 2008 when Ponta Victor-Viorel became a minister.
For the alleged activities conducted in collaboration, the lawyer Ponta Victor-Viorel issued a number of 17 fiscal invoices amounting to 181,439.98 lei during October 2007 - December 2008.
The invoices were submitted for settlement to the law firm SCA “Șova and Associates” which paid after registering them into the accounting books. The amounts for the 17 invoices represent expenditures which are not based on real operations, considering that, in fact, Ponta Victor-Viorel did not perform any professional activity based on this collaboration agreement. Șova Dan-Coman was the only person entitled to issue orders regarding any actions of any nature involving the law firm.
Subsequently, after several fiscal controls conducted during May – October 2011, Ponta Victor-Viorel had an understanding with Șova Dan-Coman for the latter to draw up legal activity reports within the law firm, activities allegedly performed by Ponta Victor-Viorel, during the 16 months representing the duration of the collaboration agreement.
Considering that Ponta Victor-Viorel’s legal training was in criminal law, it was decided for these activities to involve legal assistance in criminal cases in connection with the clients of the law firm.
Thus, during August 2011, 16 such documents were drawn up corresponding to each month from the interval September 2007 - December 2008.
The 16 documents falsified by Ponta Victor-Viorel were typed using copy-paste after the pattern of the documents regarding the legal activity carried out by several lawyers from SCA “Șova and Associates”, lawyers who stated that they had never collaborated with Ponta Victor-Viorel. In reality, Ponta Victor-Viorel did not perform any of those activities, not even in part.
Ponta Victor-Viorel used some of the money received from SCA “Șova and Associates” to buy two luxury apartments in a residential complex located in Bucharest.
During November 11th 2008 - June 2009, Ponta Victor-Viorel had also other benefits from the law firm, consisting in being given the right to use for free a vehicle Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10. During all this time, the law firm paid the down payment (37,027.41 lei), the leasing installments (approximately 6,000 lei/month) and other fees to the leasing company, amounting to 79,641.11 lei. In June 2009, Ponta Victor-Viorel took over the leasing for the car without paying any money to the law firm.
The car was purchased by the law firm “Șova and Associates”, following Ponta Victor-Viorel’s express request.

The suspect Ponta Victor-Viorel was informed about his legal status and about the above mentioned charges, according to article 307 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

2. In the same case, the prosecutors have concluded that the criminal investigation against Ponta Victor-Viorel must also continue for the perpetration of three offences of conflict of interests, one of them being committed through repeated acts (two deeds), the deeds being in connection with his capacity as Prime Minister of Romania, considering that, currently, there are aspects which lead to the reasonable suspicion showing the following state of facts:

In his capacity as Prime Minister of Romania, Ponta Victor-Viorel appointed Șova Dan-Coman in August 2012 as minister for the Relation with the Parliament, in December 2012 as delegated minister for infrastructure projects of national interest and foreign investments, in February 2014 as interim minister of Transports and in March 2014, as minister of Transports, considering that Ponta Victor-Viorel had had benefits in the past from Șova Dan-Coman, consisting of sums of money (a total of approximately 250,000 lei) and the right to use a car for free.
The evidence showed that during October 2007 - December 2008, Ponta Victor-Viorel benefited monthly from sums of money between 7,900 lei and 14,000 lei, amounting to a total of 181,439.89 lei, based on some fictive professional collaboration agreements concluded between “Șova and Associates”, represented by Șova Dan-Coman and the Private Legal Practice “Ponta Victor-Viorel” represented by Ponta Victor-Viorel, and during November 2008 - June 2009 the current Prime Minister benefited for free from the right to use the car Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10, purchased by SCA “Șova and Associates” in financial leasing from Romstal Leasing (the installments amounting to approximately 6,000 lei/month), and subsequently, in June 2009, he benefited from sums of money representing the down payments and other expenses required by the leasing contract. Thus, at the time Ponta Victor-Viorel took over the leasing, the total sum amounted to 79,641.11 lei.

Therefore, according to the legal and constitutional provisions, the Chief Prosecutor of DNA is initiating the procedure of notifying the Chamber of Deputies, for drawing up the requests of carrying out the criminal investigation against Ponta Victor-Viorel, Deputy, who was a Prime Minister in the interval of time when he allegedly committed the offences of conflict of interests.
It should be mentioned that the carrying out of the criminal investigation represents a stage of the criminal proceedings regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code, an activity which cannot, under any circumstances, infringe the principle of presumption of innocence.


THE INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE