November, 15th, 2019
No. 904/VIII/3

Press release

The prosecutors within the National Anticorruption Directorate – the Section for combating the offences assimilated to those of corruption has ordered the indictment of the following defendants, without restricting their freedom:

VLĂDESCU SEBASTIAN-TEODOR GHEORGHE (acting as the Minister of Finances at the time of the offences were committed) charged with two offences of taking bribe and one offence of influence peddling;
COSTEA MIRCEA-IONUȚ (a former employee within the Ministry of Finances, acting in a management position in a state-owned bank at the time of the offences were committed) charged with the offences of influence peddling and complicity to taking bribe;
An administrator of commercial companies, a person close to the Romanian National Railway Company’s management, charged with the offences of influence peddling and complicity to taking bribe;
DASCĂLU CONSTANTIN (acting as State Secretary within the Ministry of Transport at the time of the acts) charged with the offence of taking bribe;
BOUREANU CRISTIAN-ALEXANDRU (acting as a member of the Romanian Parliament and as a vice-president of the political party in power at the time of the offences were committed) charged with the offence of influence peddling.
The case concerns corruption offences committed from 2005 to 2017, respectively payments amounting to approximately 20 million euro carried out by a foreign company, as kickbacks, to Romanian public officials or people with influence over them, in connection with signing and executing some railway rehabilitation contracts.
The criminal activity took place in two stages, as follows:
The first stage: in 2005, in the framework of a tender organized for the rehabilitation of a railway, the representatives of the foreign company agreed with Vlădescu Sebastian-Teodor Gheorghe, Costea Mircea-Ionut and the person close to the management of CNCFR, to pay them a commission. The value of the kickback amounted to 3.5% of the amounts collected from the Romanian state, paid in several instalments, throughout the contract.
In exchange for these amounts, the defendants promised to take steps to ensure additional funding needed in order to conclude the contract, as well as the timely payment of the issued invoices.
In order to be able to pay the amounts of money, a fictitious mechanism was created and used in order to help the defendants receive their money, as follows:
- A first link was represented by the conclusion of a consulting contract with a law firm, based on which the company paid, from 2006 to 2011, the total amount of 39,363,071 lei, although no services were provided;
- The next link was the conclusion of several fictitious contracts between the law firm or offshore companies affiliated to it with companies controlled by the defendants, used by them in order to receive the promised amounts of money.

By means of this fictitious mechanism, Vlădescu Sebastian-Teodor Gheorghe received one million euro, Costea Mircea Ionuț received 3,121,328.41 lei and 2,320,698 euro, and the person close to the management of CNCFR, administrator of some commercial companies, received 3,083. 498 lei and 1,050,087 euro.
The second stage: during 2009, when the government was changed and the economic crisis led to a delay in paying the invoices, the representatives of the foreign company reached a new agreement regarding the payment of a kickback of 10% of the amounts collected from the Romanian state. The kickback was planned to be paid to Vlădescu Sebastian-Teodor Gheorghe (who was again holding the position of Minister of Finance), Constantin Dascălu and Cristian Boureanu.
In order to pay the amounts of money, a new fictitious mechanism was created and used by the foreign company in order to transfer the amount of 11,781,842 euro to the accounts of two offshore companies controlled by a Romanian citizen, who was living abroad at the time of the acts.
Subsequently, the amounts were transferred through successive transactions to other offshore companies, layered on five levels in order to prevent the tracking of the money.
In the last stage, the money was transferred to the accounts of some companies indicated by the defendants or it was withdrawn in cash and handed over to them.
In this manner, Vlădescu Sebastian-Teodor Gheorghe received 2,242,000 euro, Dascălu Constantin received 1,114,000 euro, and Boureanu Cristian Alexandru received 2,111,799 euro. Moreover, a director of the foreign company, who received the amount of 1,100,000 euro for his contribution to the criminal activities, had previously signed a plea bargaining agreement with the prosecutors that was admitted by the court.

The difference between the amounts transferred by the foreign company and those received by the defendants consists of the expenses required in order to build up the financial mechanism and make it functional (setting up the offshore companies and making them operational, bank commissions, fees, etc.), as well as the benefits received by other participants to the criminal activities. The case was later split in order for these activities to be prosecuted, too.
Ensuring measures were ordered in order to confiscate the amounts received by the denouncers acting as intermediaries in the case (EUR 389,531.7 for the first stage and EUR 929,535 for the second stage, respectively).
The deeds committed by the foreign company and its representatives are the subject of an open investigation carried out by the judicial authorities of the respective country, as result of the judicial cooperation with the National Anticorruption Directorate.
In order to establish the money flows in which 43 offshore companies were involved and to identify the assets owned by the defendants on the territory of other states, the National Anticorruption Directorate cooperated with the judicial bodies from 7 foreign jurisdictions (Austria, Switzerland, Cyprus, United Kingdom, the United States, Lithuania and Bulgaria).
Among the goods identified and seized during the criminal investigation there are:
- the amount of EUR 964,187.70 held in a Swiss bank account;
- the amount of EUR 1,684,795 held in a UK bank account;
- the amount of 527,265 euro held in several banks in Romania;
- the amount of 214,874 euro from an account opened with the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets;
- a house, 13 apartments and 5 garages located in Bucharest, an apartment in Neptun, 3 apartments in Năvodari, several plots of land in Ilfov and Prahova counties, valued at 2,588,140 euro;
- a villa and land located in Cyprus valued at 910,000 euro;
- shares held in 11 companies, valued at 1,435,000 euro and 770,880 lei;
- the freezing of amounts of 7,083,784 lei, 249,049 euro and 92,935 USD due to third party defendants.
During the criminal investigation, the defendants placed bails amounting to 4,200,000 euro, on which the court is expected to rule at the end of the case.

The case was sent to trial at the High Court of Cassation and Justice, with the proposal of maintaining the ensuring measures ordered in the case.

It should be mentioned that this stage of the criminal proceedings represents, according to the Criminal Procedure Code, the completion of the criminal investigation and the referral of the indictment to the court, for trial, a situation that cannot, under any circumstances infringe the principle of presumption of innocence.


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