Runaway Romanian investor acquitted in bribery case

Romanian runaway investor Sebastian Ghita was acquitted in a case where he is charged with bribery, instigation to abuse of office and money laundering.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice announced the decision on Monday, September 25. The decision is not final and can be appealed.

Ghita was indicted for bribing former Ploiesti mayor Iulian Badescu with a house in exchange for receiving financing for the Asesoft basketball team, according to the prosecutors.

Badescu, who was charged with bribery and abuse of office, was acquitted as well. Judges decided to lift the seizure on the assets of the two. The state also needs to cover the legal costs of this trial.

Ghita is being prosecuted in five criminal cases in Romania, including this one. The investor and former MP disappeared on December 21, last year after breaking the terms of the judicial control, and the national police put out an APB (all-points bulletin) and alerted border checkpoints. On January 10, the supreme court issued a European arrest warrant on the name of Sebastian Ghita. He was internationally followed and wanted by Interpol. He was found in Belgrade, but the Romanian authorities haven’t yet managed to have him extradited.

The prosecutor who coordinated the cases against Ghita, Mircea Negulescu, has been criticized for his methods after recordings of him allegedly intimidating witnesses were leaked to the media.

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