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Former PSD leader Dragnea brought to court as a witness in former Speaker Zgonea's case

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Inquam Valentin Dragnea Liviu Dragnea

Former Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea was brought in on Thursday at the Bucharest Court House, as a witness, in the case in which former Speaker of the Deputies' Chamber Valeriu Zgonea stands trial for influence peddling.

In the beginning the trial, the judge handling the case announced that Liviu Dragnea and former Prime Minister Victor Ponta are to be heard as witnesses.

Ponta didn't show up at the time set by the court and the magistrate decided to adjourn trial for a short period of time.

Moreover, the judge established that the witness' hearing be made in a non-public meeting. The prosecutor argued that the hearings should be made public, but judge Gheorghe Tudorel Zgondea mentioned that taking into account the notoriety of the witnesses, the meeting should be carried out behind closed doors.

Around 14:00hrs, Liviu Dragnea was introduced in the court room, without handcuffs, being escorted by seven agents. Dressed in a white shirt and dark suit, Dragnea was placed in the detention box, after which he began to make a statement as a witness.

Dragnea is serving a three and a half years sentence at the Rahova Penitentiary, following his conviction in the case regarding the fictitious hiring at the Teleorman Social Assistance and Child Protection Directorate General (DGASPC).

According to the indictment drawn up by the prosecutors, between July 2012 - April 2013, while acting as the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and the PSD Deputy Chairman, Zgonea accepted the promise made by Dumitru Dobrica, a county councilor, on receiving undue benefits for himself, in exchange of the influence which he made believe he had over some civil servants and promised that he would determine them to appoint his relative in an important public position.

Subsequently, the prosecutors show that Zgonea received from Dumitru Dobrica undue benefits worth 62,143 lei, representing the value of some tourism services and expenses related to the construction of a holiday home in Covasna County.

"On 22 April 2013, following the demarches made by Zgonea Valeriu - Stefan, the respective person was appointed President of the National Management Center for the Information Society within the Information Society Ministry, although the person didn't have specialised training in the area. Subsequently, also following Zgonea Valeriu - Stefan's demarches, the respective person kept the position at the central public administration level, being appointed, on 23 January 2014, as the undersecretary of state within the Communications and Information Society Ministry," the anti-corruption prosecutors mentioned.

The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) mentions that, in the same case, Dumitru Dobrica, a county councilor within the Buzau County Council, between June 2004 and December 2013 and the manager/shareholder of a trading company, concluded an admission of guilt agreement.

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