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Exclusive: The New Criminal Code, resemblant to the RICO Law - The potential criminal case of Basescu Clan

Postat la: 11.02.2014 - 11:31 | Scris de: Ziua News


The structure of the new Criminal Code allows prosecutors build up criminal cases in a similar way to their American counterparts who use the US RICO Law. The resemblances between the two criminal laws include the potential investigation of all crime groups local or central, sentencing the leader that ordered the crimes, recovering the loss and confiscating the complete wealth of the group. Romanian laws do not define concepts as mob or mob groups, but we have clans. While mob structures are based on business, faith or abilities in the USA and other countries, religious ceremonies certify the unification of clans, taking the shape of weddings and baptisms.

The RICO Law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act) was enforced in the 1970s in the USA to terminate the mob and organized crime groups' activities. The RICO Act allowed and still allows to indict individuals and to demonstrate the crimes perpetrated by all or one of the group members on its behalf, based on the family, friendship, interests or common business relations, in the presence or absence of direct connections. "Continuity and relation" lead to a pattern of law forbidden activities. From blackmail to illegal loans, money laundering, using high official influence to help members of the group, economic crimes, obstruction of justice and ordered murders, all these crimes are regulated and sanctioned in accordance with the provisions of the RICO Act. It allows the group leader to be sentenced, despite not having personally participated in committing the crime but having ordered it. According to the RICO Law, the sentences for trifling asault are up to 10 years with a 5-year limitation status while the group members may be ordered to pay criminal fines up to USD 25,000, the damage caused to the victim and additional damages, as well as being confiscated the wealth obtained from illegal activities.

By Voichita Rascanu

In Romania, the New Criminal Code provides the prosecutors all necessary tools to demonstrate the formation of a clan or mob group even in the absence of direct connection between its members, based on the family and/or business relations. Similar to the American system, the Romanian lawmaker reduced the prison sentences, considering their lack of efficiency in the cases of clans, but also allowed prosecutors and judges to sentence the criminals to substantial damage payments and to confiscate all assets used, purchased or obtained from committing crimes. Judges are to be certain, prior to ruling a suspended sentence, that the criminals have covered the loss and damages. The New Criminal Code regulates on confiscating the wealth extensively and reduced from 5 to 4 years the prison sentence for the crime to which the measure applies. The extended confiscation implies the confiscation of all assets and wealth the judge believes have been obtained from committing crimes five years prior to the indictment, the measure being applied to the assets owned by the defendant, the family hereof, the company controlled hereby or his family. In other words, a clan will lose all the money obtained from committing a crime, even in the case of a 4-5 year prison sentence. Thus, it becomes impossible for the clan to continue running the illegal business from prison.

In order to achieve a better understanding of the prosecutors' actions on the RICO Law and the provisions of the New Criminal Code, ZIUAnews will analyse the case of President Traian Basescu and his entourage.

One of the high-profile cases involving Traian Basescu concerned the land purchased in the village Nana.

Basescu, as a father, persuaded his eldest daughter to be the front face for an EUR 1 million loan used to purchase the land in the village Nana.

Ioana Basescu, a public notary, had benefitted - prior to taking the loan- from her father's relations as a President to be paid generously for authenticating several multinaltional companies' documents.

The man who decided to grant the EUR 1 million loan was Radu Gratian Ghetea, Chairman of CEC state-owned bank.

Taking full advantage of his high position, Basescu intervened with the Minister of Finance Daniel Chitoiu to keep Ghetea to his position, despite the latter having broken the legal loan granting regulations.

In order to choose the land formally owned by Ioana Basescu, her father benefitted from the influence and help of Adrian Radulescu, his Presidential Advisor, whose knowledge and connections were used not in the public interest but for Traian Basescu himself.

Traian Basescu admitted that he is the actual owner of the land.

Let us take a second example. While Basescu was Mayor of Bucharest and had just signed an agreement with Luxten for the public lightning system, his youngest daughter Elena admitted that her father talked to the Luxten representatives from his position as a Mayor, thus obtaining a job for his daughter. Just another abuse of office.

Let us take a third example, the house in Mihaileanu Street. Mayor Traian Basescu donated a house to his eldest daughter Ioana Basescu only to later declare in a public official deed that he did not own any properties and to assign Traian Basescu, the citizen, a house in Mihaileanu Street.

Let us take a fourth example of personal and professional connections, the relation between Traian Basescu and the former family Udrea-Cocos. Mr. Cocos and Traian Basescu, in his capacity as a Mayor, signed several highly profitable agreements for both of them, while Cocos arranged for his former wife Elena Udrea to be hired by the Bucharest Mayoralty, run at that time by his business partner, Traian Basescu. Udrea was subsequently promoted Personal Advisor to President Basescu and later Minister in the Boc Government, although she did not have the required expertise or training.

Promoting family members by taking advantage of the public position in the state structures, where they lack any qualifications, is nepotism and a way of proving the business and interest connections of a clan.

Promoting friends or business partners to positions for which they lack training or expertise, like in the Udrea-Basescu clan, is the American definition of cronyism and another element that defines a clan.

The relations between the clan members, their closeness, common interests and criminal mentality of the clan or mob group members represent key elements in stating the existence of the clan for prosecutors and judges. The most representative example of criminal mentality was the very own admission of Elena Basescu, the President's youngest daughter, when she was asked whether it was her father who had secured the Luxten job for her: "But wasn't that normal? I had to get a job somewhere."

ZIUAnews specifies that the scheme presented in pages 4-5 does not represent an indictment or a list of the crimes committed by the clan members, it is merely a scheme of the relations between the group members. The crimes committed by each of the group members - those that are still sanctioned by the New Criminal Code- will be indicted by the prosecutors and ruled upon by judges. However, the existence of the group is certain.

Dan Sova: Prosecutors may already start investigating the Nana Case

One of the most vocal opponents of Traian Basescu, USL Minister Dan Sova claims that: "According to Article No. 305, Line 1: the criminal investigation shall be started if the action meets the legal criteria to be considered a crime and there are sufficient evidence items for the prosecutor to think there may be a criminal liability, without starting the criminal investigation against a certain person. Initially, the action is investigated. At that moment, prosecutors are allowed to demand the taping of all potential persons involved in the criminal action. According to Article No. 305 Line 4, a criminal investigation shall be conducted in rem for the criminal action and, should the investigation lead to a certain person for whose prosecution the approval of the Parliament is required, or to revoke the immunity, or to meet different criteria, like waiting for the end of the President's mandate, the criminal investigation shall be conducted in rem when the approval has been given or the criteria has been met. Suppose, for instance, that someone discovers a criminal activity in the Nana case, prosecutors are able to conduct the investigation in the Nana case and simply wait for Mr. President's mandate to end only to start the criminal investigation against him the day after the mandate ends. (...) The same applies in the case of the Mihaileanu Street house."


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