Tuesday, February 17th

Another preventive detention warrant for Elena Udrea

Romanian Parliament’s lower house is expected to make a decision concerning a new request put forward by the country’s anticorruption watchdog for a new preventive detention arrest of MP Elena Udrea, a former Tourism Minister. Prosecutors with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) have extendend their investigation into Ms. Udrea’s alleged involvement in the so-called Bute Gala file in which the former minister was accused of other three infringements still unknown at the time of her previous arrest warrant. Elena Udrea is accused of allegedly using more than 1 ml. euros in order to support companies in their contracts with the state. The House of Deputies is expected to make a decision on the matter next week. However, deputies should address another issue by then: the fate of Ms. Udrea as MP. „We should discuss the problem with the country’s justice minister and the attorney general as Ms. Udrea was not supposed to explain her position before MPs while in handcuffs”, House of Deputy’s Speaker Valeriu Zgonea told reporters on Tuesday. Elena Udrea will appear before the High Court of Cassation and Justice on Tuesday as she appealed against the preventive detention for her alleged involvement in the Microsoft file. A verdict on the request is expected today.

Corruption-related crimes under DNA investigation in Ploieşti

The brother-in-law of Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta and a deputy who is also a well-known businessman are under investigation at the DNA headquarters in Ploieşti, a town some 60 km north of the capital Bucharest. Iulian Herţanu, brother-in-law of Mr. Ponta, and Deputy Sebastian Ghiţă are answering questions concerning their alleged involvement in a corruption and EU fund-related fraud case. Mircea Cosma, who is the head of Prahova County Council, and Deputy Vlad Cosma are also under investigation at the DNA in Ploieşti. Mr. Ghiţă admitted he knew Mr. Herţanu while denying any business relation with the man. The hearings come after DNA prosecutors raided 14 locations in both Bucharest and Ploieşti early on Tuesday.

Drug use on the rise in an eastern Romanian county

Drug use was on the rise last year in the eastern Romanian county of Vaslui. Local authorities and experts have failed in their efforts to fight the problem. Some 400 cases were reported in 2014 as RADIO ROMANIA reported on Tuesday. Local police are trying hard to find and dismantle gangs who allegedly sell forbidden drugs in the Vaslui county.
Most efforts in preventing and fighting drug abuse should be made in elementary schools and high schools as teenagers were most exposed, officials said.

INSCOP survey

Almost 77 percent of Romanians would reject offensive cartoons of Jesus and other biblical characters in case such drawings would hurt Christian followers, according to an INSCOP survey ordered by „Adevărul” newspaper. According to results issued on Tuesday, only 6 percent of respondents expressed their unconditional support of such drawings in the name of free speech while 17 percent failed to answer. 45.8 percent of Romanians fear such drawings will lead to terror atacks similar to recent incidents in Paris, France. The survey was conducted between Februray 5-10, 2015 with an error margin of ± 3%.

Alexandru Danga