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PSD's leader Dragnea sentenced to 3 years, 6 months in prison; the ruling is not final


The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), major at rule, Liviu Dragnea to three years and six months in jail for fictitiously hiring two persons to work with the DGASPC Teleorman child protection and social assistance directorate who were actually working for the local PSD organisation. The ruling is not final.

The three-year-and six-month imprisonment for instigation to abuse of office was comingled with a two-year suspended sentence for involvement in a 2012 referendum to impeach then President Traian Basescu, which the court cancelled, hence the new sentence. The decision was taken by two of a three-judge panel. The third voted for acquittal. Dragnea was acquitted of incitement to false representation.

Other convictions in the case:

- Floarea Alesu, former general director of DGASPC Teleorman: three years, seven months and 20 days of imprisonment;
- Rodica Milos, former deputy executive director of DGASPC Teleorman: three years, suspended, under supervision, and a five-year probation;
- Olguta Sefu: three years in prison and a five-year probation for abuse of office;
- Ionel Marineci: abuse of office, three years, suspended, under supervision and a five-year probation;
- Valentina Mirela Marica: three years in jail and a five-year probation;
- Constantin Claudiu Balaban, head of the Child and Family Services Complex in Alexandria: three years behind bars, suspended, and a five-year probation;
- Nicusor Gheorghe, at the time manager at DGASPC: one year in prison, suspended, and a three-year probation;
- Anisa Niculina Stoica, one of the two employees of DGASPC Teleorman: one year, suspended;
- Adriana Botorogeanu, the other second employee at DGASPC Teleorman: two years in prison, suspended, and a four-year probation.

The Supreme Court judges decided to terminate the criminal trial in the case of Bombonica Prodana, the former wife of Liviu Dragnea, who paid the damage. One of the judges made a separate opinion suggesting the acquittal of more of the defendants.

* In December 2013, prosecutors, acting on their own motion, registered a notification that Floarea Alesu, executive director of DGASPC Teleorman, for undue benefits, would illegally keep in office two employees of DGASPC Teleorman - Adriana Botorogeanu and Anisa Niculina Stoica.

According to the prosecutors, the two employees would not show up for work or perform any of the tasks mentioned in their employment contracts signed with DGASPC Teleorman, actually carrying out their activity at the PSD Teleorman organisation.

The National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) argued that Liviu Dragnea, is his capacity as chairman of the Teleorman County Council, would coordinate and control the operation of DGASPC Teleorman.

The prosecutors say Liviu Dragnea convinced Anisa Niculina Stoica to take up a remunerated job at DGASPC Teleorman.

Dragnea was also accused of having contributed, through his undue influence as chairman of the Teleorman County Council, to Adriana Botorogeanu and Anisa Niculina Stoica being kept employed at DGASPC Teleorman.

Save Romania Union (USR) asked for the resignation of Liviu Dragnea from the office of Speaker of the Deputies Chamber, after the High Court of Cassation and Justice announced its decision in the "DGASPC Teleorman" case.

"It is unacceptable that an offender with two criminal convictions remains in one of the most important high offices of the state to represent Romania. The High Court of Cassation and Justice's decision today is a proof that justice is independent and remained impartial despite the terrible pressure placed on it by Liviu Dragnea and the PSD [Social Democratic Party] in the past year and a half," reads a release of the USR.

USR appreciated that the judges' ruling in this file "put an end to all the years during which Liviu Dragnea subordinated a lot of people through illegalities and by paying them" out of the state's pockets.

"This criminal should not lead Parliament and should not hold any other public office and PSD must give up first of all the plan of annihilating the justice initiated by Dragnea. A party led by a criminal, who is involved in other files too, doesn't have the legitimacy to modify the most important laws in the justice field, with the clear purpose of subordinating the prosecutors and intimidating the judges," stated the USR President Dan Barna.

Protesters gathered on Thursday before the Government House in Victoriei Square and applauded the news that national leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea was sentenced for abuse of office. Hundreds of people in Victoriei Square applauded and blow vuvuzelas. They were chanting "Demisia, demisia!" (Resignation, resignation); "Kovesi, Kovesi!" and waving the flags of Romania and the European Union.