Former Romanian Economy Minister Codrut Seres was recently sentenced to four years in jail without parole, but the sentence can be further appealed. The Supreme Court recently decided to send Seres to jail for complicity in abuse of power in the Hidroelectrica case.
In December last year, Seres was sent to jail for five years for creating a crime group in the case of strategic privatizations, but he was recently acquitted in that case. Several former managers with state – owned energy company Hidroelectrica were also acquitted for having created an organized crime group. Three of them however, Eugen Pena, Traian Oprea and George Asan, were also sentenced to five years in jail for abuse of power, while Nicolae Opris got a four-year jail sentence.
Two other managers, Victoria Geormaneanu and Georgeta Iosif , were sentenced to four years in jail with parole, with seven and six years trial periods, respectively.
The trial against Seres started in September 2011, when he was sent to court for having hidden the illegal activities of Hidroelectrica's management, which resulted in USD 165 million damages. Prosecutors also accused him of having undermined the Romanian economy.
According to prosecutors, Eugen Pena started a crime group, together with Traian Oprea, Victoria Geormaneanu, George Lavinius Asan, Nicolae Opris and Georgeta Iosif. They all signed contracts selling electricity to third parties, under conditions which were unfavorable to Hidroelectrica, and which led to a drop in the required energy reserves.
Prosecutors also argue that in 2003, the former Hidroelectrica management failed to call force majeure on these contracts when the drought would have allowed them to do so, as well as failed to renegotiate prices, leading to losses for the company.
The then – Minister was found to have supported the crime group during the period by failing to inform prosecutors and hiding the results of their activities.