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Direcția Națională Anticorupție

MINISTERUL PUBLIC

PARCHETUL

DE PE LÂNGĂ

ÎNALTA CURTE DE CASAȚIE ȘI JUSTIȚIE

 
IMPARȚIALITATE·INTEGRITATE·EFICIENȚĂ
 July, 02nd, 2020
No. 388/VIII/3

PRESS RELEASE


In the criminal case communicated through the press releases no. 310/VIII/3 of April 8th, 2019 and no. 696/VIII/3 of August 21st, 2019, the prosecutors from the National Anticorruption Directorate - Section for Combating the Offences Assimilated to those of Corruption ordered the sending to trial of the following defendants:
SZECHELY MIHAELA VASILICA, acting as a councillor of the Minister of Transport between July 10th, 2012 - December 21st, 2012, for committing the offence of influence peddling.
an Italian citizen (person with alleged connections in the political environment), presently under judicial control, for committing the offence of influence peddling.
an Italian citizen, the husband of the above-mentioned person, acting as an associate partner and administrator within the company TEAM DELTA PROIECT, presently under judicial control, for committing the offences of abetting of influence peddling, money laundering and indirect participation in committing the offence of tax evasion.
administrator of the company TEAM DELTA PROIECT, for committing the offence of money laundering.
The company TEAM DELTA PROIECT (currently in liquidation), for committing the offences of money laundering and tax evasion.
The present case file was the result of a request for judicial assistance submitted by the Belgian authorities, and the investigations were carried out in the framework of a Joint Investigation Team, an instrument for international judicial cooperation in criminal matters between the Member States of the European Union, which included DNA and law enforcement authorities from Belgium. The investigation was carried out with the support of OLAF and EUROJUST.
The present case investigates the circumstances and the destination of kickbacks amounting to more than 2 million euro, received in exchange for unblocking some payments due by the State to a company for rehabilitation works of railway sections. The rehabilitation works were carried out on the Bucharest-Constanta railway sections. 75% of the works were financed with European funds and 25% of the works were paid with money from the state budget.

In exchange of the delivered works, the construction company had to collect from the Romanian State, through the beneficiary of the works, CFR (the Railway Company), the amount of 15 million euro, outstanding payments in May 2012.
The indictment drafted by the prosecutors describes the following state of facts:
Based on a prior agreement she had with the other two defendants, both Italian citizens, and in the headquarters of the Ministry of Transport, Szechely Mihaela Vasilica allegedly claimed amounts of money, with the abetment of her husband (one of the two Italian citizens), from the representative of the branch of a construction company from Italy, in exchange for interceding in the favour of the respective company that had to receive money for works carried out on the railway.

Basically, in exchange for the kickbacks representing percentages of the payments that needed to be unblocked, the defendant allegedly committed herself to intercede with the officials of the Ministry of Transport (her influence resulting from her capacity of personal councillor of the Minister of Transport), in order to convince them to unblock in the favour of CFR SA the money necessary to settle the debts due to the construction company.

Subsequently, based on the same agreement, in order to strengthen the belief of the representatives of the construction company that the payment of the kickbacks is the only way to solve the problem related to the outstanding CFR payments, one of the Italian citizens allegedly claimed the payment of the same amounts as kickback from the general manager of the Italian construction company, money that had already been claimed by Szechely Mihaela Vasilica with the help of her husband. The money would have represented the price of the promised interceding of the defendant with the Minister of Transport, in order to convince him to get involved in solving the problem of the Romanian branch of the Italian company.

In between July the 5th, 2012 – April the 3rd, 2015, the defendant Szechely Mihaela Vasilica allegedly received the amount of 9,005,497 lei (almost 2 million euro) for herself and for the other two defendants, from the representative of the branch of Italian construction company. The money was received in the bank account of the company Team Delta Proiect, the payments being hidden through fictitious contracts.

Between November 5th 2012 – August 26th, 2013, the amount of 4,472,141 lei (1,020,550 euro) was allegedly transferred from the account of Team Delta Proiect SRL, through 35 bank transfer operations to the account of two Belgian companies controlled by the defendant Italian citizen, in exchange for the above-described interceding. The payments carried out through bank transfers were justified through fictitious contracts.

Another part of the money received in the account of Team Delta Proiect SRL, respectively 465,132 lei, was allegedly withdrawn between July 27th and December 20th, 2012, by the administrator of the company, although she was aware that the amounts received in the account were proceeds of crime. The administrator was the person who had taken over the management of Team Delta Proiect from Szechely Mihaela Vasilica, after the latter was appointed as a councillor of the Minister of Transport. The withdrawn money was allegedly used in the interest of the company, in her or of the other defendants’ personal interest.

The other co-defendant, the husband of Szechely Mihaela Vasilica, also allegedly participated in the criminal activities. Thus, he facilitated the communication between the councillor and the construction company's representative, concerning the conditions and the manner in which the kickbacks were paid. Also, in his capacity of de facto administrator of Team Delta Proiect SRL, he ordered the transfer of the amount of 4,472,141 lei (1,011,550 euro) to the accounts of the Belgian firms, knowing that the money was actually proceeds of crime.
Between October 2012 and May 2013, the same defendant allegedly ordered the recording of invoices related to fictitious purchases of goods and services in the accounting records of Team Delta Proiect SRL, leading to the non-payment of tax obligations amounting to 1,413. 522 lei.

For this amount, the Ministry of Public Finances, through the National Agency of Tax Administration, lodged an application in the criminal case, as a civil party.

The seizure of immovable goods and the freezing of accounts belonging to the defendants were ordered, to secure the confiscation of the amount representing the object of influence peddling or money laundering as well as to recover the damage caused by the offence of tax evasion.

The investigation carried out within the joint investigation team led to the hypothesis that, in the period immediately following the cashing of the amounts from Team Delta Proiect SRL, one of the two companies registered in Belgium made payments to some Romanian companies. These payments represented the value of advertising services for the election campaign for the 2012 parliamentary elections, the beneficiary of these services being a political alliance.

The investigations regarding the acts committed on the Belgian territory are further carried out by the Belgian authorities.
The file was sent to the Bucharest Tribunal with a proposal to maintain the judicial control against two of the defendants, as well as the seizure measures.

We mention that, in accordance the Criminal Procedure Code, this stage of the criminal trial represents the concluding of the criminal investigation and the sending of the indictment to trial, an activity that under any circumstances cannot violate the principle of the presumption of innocence.


THE INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICE