Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, has been acquitted by the Supreme Court in a case in which anti-corruption prosecutors accused him of false testimony.
The High Court of Cassation and Justice Monday issued the final ruling in a case in which the Speaker of the Senate of Romania Calin Popescu Tariceanu was accused of false testimony. The case involved several other high-profile individuals from media, business and political circles. A majority of the panel’s 5 judges cleared Tariceanu of charges, dismissing the appeal filed by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. Only one judge issued a dissenting opinion.
The court of first instance had dismissed charges against the Senate Speaker in May 2018. At that stage, the judges changed the legal description of the offence, from false testimony and aiding an offender into just one count of false testimony, of which Tariceanu was deemed not guilty. The prosecutors had requested a 3-year imprisonment sentence against Tariceanu, and in November 2018 they appealed the original ruling. Hearings have been postponed several times since then.
Essentially, the Senate Speaker was accused by anti-corruption prosecutors of lying in his witness statement in a case concerning the allegedly illegal return of a plot of land in Snagov Forest and Baneasa Farm, both of them near the capital city Bucharest, to Prince Paul Philippe of Romania.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, Tariceanu’s sworn statement in this case included inaccuracies, and he withheld essential information, with a view to preventing or hindering the prosecution of the defendants in that case. Prosecutors argued that Tariceanu lied when he stated he had not been aware that plots of land in Baneasa and Snagov, including the former Royal Family farm, had been returned to Paul Philippe of Romania. Furthermore, Tariceanu also lied about having no information on the involvement of the Israeli citizens Tal Silberstein, Beny Steinmetz, Moshe Agavi and others in the restitution procedures and on the sale documents involving these assets.
In a first statement after receiving the sentence, Calin Popescu Tariceanu said his joy was shadowed by the fact that many other people who were or had been in the same situation were still on trial. The Senate Speaker is still subject to another criminal proceeding, in which he is charged with taking bribes amounting to 800,000 euros, but the Senate has deferred the lifting of his parliamentary immunity several times.