The judges of the Supreme Court ordered, on Monday, the start of the trial on the merits in the case in which the president of the Iaşi County Council, Costel Alexe, at the time of the events the Minister of the Environment, was sent to court for bribery and instigation of embezzlement, after received 22 tons of tin from a former director of the Liberty Galati Iron and Steel Plant.
The magistrates rejected, definitively, the appeals submitted by Costel Alexe and members of his family involved in this case, the decision of another panel, from June 2023, was upheld, by which the legality of the court referral, the administration of the evidence and the execution of the criminal investigation documents, as well as and of the indictment drawn up by the DNA.
It should be remembered that, during the debates in the preliminary chamber, the magistrates requested the prosecutors to correct several irregularities in the file and to redo the indictment.
Costel Alexe was sent to court by the DNA in June 2022 for committing the crimes of bribery and incitement to embezzlement, together with the former general director of the Liberty Galati steel complex Bogdan Grecu, accused of bribery, embezzlement and improper participation in forgery in documents under private signature, in continuous form.
Other people are also on trial in the file, including three members of Costel Alexe’s family, namely his brothers, Mihai and Florin Alexe, but also his wife Raluca Elena Alexe, from whom the current head of the Iaşi CJ would have divorced in 2021, immediately after being indicted by the DNA, according to the local media in Iasi.
Mihai, Florin and Raluca Elena Alexe are accused of forgery in documents under private signature in continuous form.
According to the DNA, on April 6, 2020, Costel Alexe, as Minister of the Environment, Water and Forests, would have claimed, directly, from the director of the steel plant several sheet metal products (corrugated sheet metal, square pipe, pipe rectangular and sheet metal rolls), in exchange for the allocation, free of charge, to Liberty Galati of greenhouse gas emission certificates and the monitoring of the measures taken by this factory to close a non-compliant waste deposit (slag dump).
The respective deposit, say the investigators, was one of the 68 not closed for which the Romanian state was condemned by the Court of Justice of the European Union in 2018, for failing to fulfill the obligation assumed as an EU member state to abolish them as soon as possible. As a result, Romania must periodically report the situation of the deposits mentioned in the content of the CJEU decision.
“The respective goods, in the amount of 22 tons, would have been received on April 23, 2020 and July 7, 2020, at the workplace of a commercial company managed by a person close to the minister, accused in this case. The value of the goods that would were received as a bribe by the former minister with the consent of the general director of the respective company, sent to court in the present case, amounts to the sum of 99,956 lei, which consists of the counter value of steel products, labor and transport”, mentions DNA.
According to the local media, the respective products (corrugated sheet, fence slat, rectangular bar, sheet for walls) were transported to the town of Sculeni, where the Alexe family owns an area of several hectares, on which there are a number of buildings.
Later, the prosecutors show, in order to create an appearance of legality for the removal from management and the remittance as a bribe of the steel products, the general manager would have induced two subordinates (sent to court in the same case) to conclude two sponsorship contracts with a controlled association by Alexe’s brothers and wife.
“During December 2020 – January 2021, in order to create a ‘legal alibi’ necessary to justify receiving undue benefits, the same three people drew up several false documents (lease contracts, accounting notes, etc.)”, DNA explains. AGERPRES/(AS – author: Eusebi Manolache, editor: Claudia Stănescu, online editor: Ady Ivaşcu)