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Sebastian Ghita – once a maverick entrepreneur, now facing investigation in several corruption cases – had fled after losing his parliamentary immunity.18 April 2017
One of Romania’s most controversial politicians and businessmen has been apprehended in Serbia, after four months on the run, Euronews writes.
The Romanian General Inspectorate of Police said that the Ministry of Justice needs to send an official extradition request to Belgrade. Serbian judges first need to validate the international arrest warrant, then the extradition request, and, last but not least, to decide if Ghita is to be tried in Serbia or in Romania for his use of false documents. Depending on how long each procedure takes, Ghita might end up spending between three months and five years behind bars in Serbia, Stirileprotv.ro writes.
Ghita had fled the country on 19 December 2016, the day before his parliamentary immunity expired, making him fit for prosecution in several corruption cases. He now faces charges ranging from blackmail and money laundering to being an accomplice to fraud. The total damages he brought to the Romanian state stands at around 50 million euros ($53.5 million), according to Stirileprotv.ro.
Ghita had his fingers in many pies, the most important ones being state contracts awarded to his IT firms, Asesoft and Teamnet, a RISE Project investigation in 2014 revealed. The Romanian Information Service (SRI) was one of his clients, though Ghita, during his parliamentary mandate, sat on the commission in charge of parliamentary control over the SRI.
Ghita’s confessions about his close relationship with General-Lieutenant Florian Coldea – via the TV station Ghita owned, Romania TV – led to Coldea’s downfall and decision to retire, Business Review writes. Ghita has also said he had friendly ties with Laura Codruta Kovesi, the head of the National Anticorruption Department (DNA).
Reacting to Ghita’s arrest, former Romanian President Traian Basescu said that “prosecutors should give Ghita a pen and paper or a computer [to write on], because he can bring many people down,” Stirileprotv.ro writes.
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