Did Romanian corruption try to penetrate at the very heart of the European Comission?
A letter to the future European Prosecutor (scroll below)
Update: Mircea Cotoroș a pierdut procesul prin care obținuse inițial ștergerea a două articole de pe Riscograma, despre Sebastian Ghiță și George Maior
Astăzi am trimis către EPPO (Procurorul European) posibil prima sesizare de pe rolul instituției.
În caz că este încă prea devreme pentru ca noua instituție să o poată înregistra formal, am adresat-o și OLAF respectiv Eurojust.
Este o situație care vizează corupția sistemică la nivel european dar și protecția efectivă a avertizorilor de integritate, colaborarea organelor judiciare cu serviciile de informații, libertatea presei și independența justiției. Deci, o speță în care nou-înființata instituție are ocazia de a se ridica la așteptările generale de integritate, imparțialitate și intransigență.
Situația pe scurt:
În 2010, un avertizor de integritate, Nelu Neacșu, sub rezerva confidențialității, îl informează pe șeful SRI George Maior despre cum Sebastian Ghiță ar încerca să aducă chiar la Bruxelles un model de corupție pe care l-ar fi practicat deja cu succes în România și Republica Moldova.
În mesaj este descrisă și documentată cu o corespondență separată o încercare de întâlnire pe canale neoficiale cu un funcționar de rang înalt al Comisiei Europene, pe care acesta o refuză în mod abrupt, solicitând parcurgerea etapelor procedurale, inclusiv înscrierea solicitanților (Teamnet etc.) în registrul oficial de interese ținut de Comisia Europeană. Oficialul citat, domnul Karel de-Vriendt, head of unit la Directoratul General pentru Informatică, a confirmat ulterior faptul că a trimis un astfel de mesaj.
În 2014, hackerul Guccifer dezvăluie corespondențele mai multor oficiali români și internaționali, inclusiv George Maior, printre care se găsește și acest mesaj.
În ianuarie 2014, am publicat corespondența respectivă pe riscograma.ro cu titlul «Dezvăluirile lui Guccifer: Şeful SRI ştia de patru ani că firma lui Ghiţă „a pus la punct un sistem diabolic, bazat pe şpăgi”». Rațiunea publicării este interesul public față de ce a făcut directorul SRI pentru a verifica acuzații de o astfel de gravitate, demersuri despre care mai târziu s-a aflat că era obligat să le facă prin protocoalele semnate de SRI cu instituțiile din Justiție.
După ce inițial își asumă public deîndată paternitatea corespondenței, avertizorul de integritate Nelu Neacșu revine a doua zi cu o declarație notarială prin care susține că nu el este autorul. În același timp, unul dintre personajele implicate în corespondență, Mircea Cotoroș, îmi trimite aceeași declarație notarială și îmi cere să retrag articolul. Refuză să ofere orice alte precizări, drepturi la replică, dezmințiri etc. – unica pretenție este ca articolul să dispară.
Într-un al doilea articol public integral declarația lui Nelu Neacșu împreună cu întreg contextul și solicit public autorităților române să-i acorde acestuia protecția cuvenită avertizorilor de integritate.
Ulterior, articolul inițial devine referință pentru mai multe serii de investigații referitoare la afacerile controversate ale unor personaje ca Sebastian Ghiță și partenerii săi de afaceri, respectiv la îngăduința de care aceștia s-au bucurat din partea autorităților statului în frunte cu SRI.
În iunie 2018, Mircea Cotoroș mă dă în judecată cerând din nou ștergerea articolelor.
În urma unui proces al cărui lung șir de neregularități îl voi detalia în Apel, instanța dispune în favoarea reclamantului: Trebuie să „retrag” cele două articole și să plătesc despăgubiri de 10.000 de euro plus cheltuieli de judecată, în solidar cu Societatea Academică din România, care la rândul ei trebuie să șteargă alte două articole, între care unul cu legătură tangențială, care explică motivele pentru care au fost blocate decontările către sistemul spitalicesc din cauza neregularităților descoperite la atribuirea unor contracte către firmele lui Sebastian Ghiță.
Tot azi am depus la Parchetul General o plângere penală față de infracțiunile pe care le pot demonstra cu probe și martori, din timpul litigiului de pe rolul Tribunalului București. Întrucât este vorba despre elemente care pot afecta cursul unei anchete penale, voi respecta caracterul nepublic al conținutului plângerii.
Mai jos, conținutul sesizării către EPPO:
To the honourable Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office
Also sent to Eurojust and The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), provisionally, until such time as the EPPO’s apparatus is fully established.
I’m writing you the following Report regarding an alleged attempt by a Romanian controversial businessman to set up a corruption scheme at European Commission’s level. The case also involves aspects regarding the freedom of the press, the protection of whistleblowers, the independence of justice and the collaboration between prosecutorial offices and intelligence agencies.
My name is Lucian Davidescu, and I am a Romanian journalist who was just recently ordered by Court to delete leaked information regarding corruption from the Internet, in an unprecedented ruling of the Romanian Justice system.
In a leak of e-mails by the hacker Guccifer, dating back to January 2014, it is shown how Mr. George Maior, then head of the Romanian Intelligence Agency (SRI), was briefed about an attempt by Romanian businessman Mr. Sebastian Ghiță to set up a model of corruption at the very heart of the European Commission.
The message, from 2010, belonged to a Romanian whistleblower in Brussels, mr. Nelu Neacșu, who went on to attach some further leaked e-mails. The exchange documented an attempt to an informal meeting, that was met with the blunt refusal of any sort of discussion outside official and documented channels by the targeted official, mr. Karel de-Vriendt.
Mr. Nelu Neacșu said that mr. Sebastian Ghiță’s company was attempting to use a corruption scheme similar to the one already tested succesfully in Romania and Moldova and went on to comment that such mischieving would be very detrimental to Romania’s interests.
I found the message in the trove of leaks and decided to publish it, as it was of great public interest, credible and already available publically.
After initially taking credit publically for the message, Mr. Nelu Neacșu released a statement in which he denied authorship and later suspended his social media accounts altogether. I wrote a second article describing the situation and asking Romanian authorities to grant mr. Neacșu the legal and physical protections afforded to whistleblowers.
Last year, one of the people involved in the leaked correspondence, Mr. Mircea Cotoroș, sued me for defamation and asked for the complete removal of the said articles and some more that were only linking to the first one (including an investigation piece by a fellow journalist, which described the circumstances that led to the suspension of EU payments for Romanian hospitals, involving
Mr. Sebastian Ghiță now a fugitive from justice in Belgrade) and Mr. Sebastian Vlădescu, a former minister of Finance, that is currently investigated by the DNA and has his assets in seizure.
The decision to totally suppress pieces of journalism is unprecedented in Romania and I will further battle the judgement in Appeal and, if necessary, at the European Court of Human Rights. I have also filed a criminal complaint with the Romanian Prosecutor’s Office regarding the irregularities that helped lead to such a decision.
That having said, two aspects may be of utmost importance for your Office.
1. That this lead was left uninvestigated by authorities for 5 years already, potentially allowing such attempts to continue.
2. That this lead is about to be completely suppressed by Romanian Justice, thus hindering any possible further investigations on the matter.
For this reason, I decided to provide you with the text that was ordered withdrawn and its translation in English, subject to your professional consideration. Also attached is my own correspondence with Mr. Karel de-Vriendt, who confirmed that the exchange regarding himself indeed existed.
Kindly register the current Report with your Office and provide me with a reciept note and a registration number as soon as possible.
From: Nelu Neacsu <email@example.com>
To: Maior George <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As I already briefed you, [the companies] RSC and Asesoft, both from Romania, started an office in Bruxelles led by Mircea Cotoros. Until recently, Mircea worked for Veneto Region’s Brussels Office and, as of late, he’s in charge with the [Asesoft] Brussels office.
The headquarters is now in the former Electrica Office within the Press Center next to European Comission’s central headquarters.
All was fine until they submitted two financing proposals:
One worth EUR 1,2 mil. for the Ștefan Vodă County Concil in Moldova, submitted on february 22 2010 to DG AIDGO with the registration number L.41 03/154
And another worth EUR 4 mil., submitted by the Teamnet International Bucharest consortium for IT services externalized at the European Comission, submitted on March 1st 2010, with the number bu.5 00/122 at DG Environment.
Mircea was promised a success fee, so for every project that he manages to „lobby” and obtain financing he will recieve a certain amount of money. As the sum is directly proportional with the project’s value, he’s desperately trying to interfeer with the Comission’s officials.
Regarding this situation, I’m sending you an e-mail exchange below.
I should add that Dan Luca from Euractiv is involved in the plan.
Yesterday I had an interesting chat with Mircea and I found out their procedure.
Thus, he will Try to „draw” Bent Hauschildt, who is a subordinate of [Karel] De Vrient, on his side and financially motivate him if necessary.
When I asked him how it’s done, he said he has discretion for up to EUR 5000 and if the [required] sum is above this threshold, Bogdan Badiu, the general Manager of Teamnet Romania, will come to Bruxelles to solve the problem.
One thing is sure, that the people from Teamnet wish to use the same bribery-based system from Romania at the European Comission.
The great danger is that all this desperation and their way of work could turn against Romania like a boomerang and I think that these activities should be followed more closely.
Soon, he will contact the people from Romania’s Office to help him in his endeavour and also the Romanian members of the European Parliament, starting with [Theodor] Stolojan and Monica Macovei.
Macovei is of interest because she’s the president of the Moldova group and, within Romania’s national interest, they want to be supported for future projects that will be submitted by various Moldovan entities for financing from Brussels.
They crafted a diabolical system of operation in Romania and, more recently, in Moldova, in that county councils and municipalities no longer use their specialized departments to draw EU funds, subcontracting the services to their companies instead.
They write the contracts and recieve front payments of 20% of the total project, but they also earn from consortiums made with other companies, where they bring their companies as well.
Also, by using Vlădescu’s (Sebastian Vlădescu, Romania’s minister fo Finance at the time) „discreet” support they entered Moldova’s market, where meetings were held at minister’s and even prime-minister’s level.
The minister Vlădescu is a shareholder at RSC while the former [SRI] general Gioni Popescu, among others, is behind Asesoft.
I hope this information will come useful.
–- Forwarded Message –-
From: Mircea Cotoros <Memail@example.com>
To: Dan Luca <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Bogdan Padiu <Bemail@example.com>; Marius Olaru <firstname.lastname@example.org>; George Stan <Gemail@example.com>; Bogdan Nedelcu <Bfirstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Fri, March 5, 2010 5:55:37 AM
Subject: FW: ISA Programme
I want to have your attention for a very important issue: during my work in the ITRE commission of the EP I managed a report that was eventually approved by the Council and that mentions the creation of an electronic system regarding the interoperability of the public administration all around Europe, „ISA Programme”, that would follow the current IDABC system. For the 2010-2013 budgeting, money was already allotted, with a total budget of around 160 M Euro!
The interesting thing is that, from trustable sources i found that the EC will launch a tender for the creation of this system via a frame contract in the summer of this year, 2010. I tried to approach the unit that will prepare the documentation for the tender, but as you can see, the guy below who is also the Head of Unit, sent me packing [literal translation: sent me to pick blackberries].
Dan, I kindly ask that we mobilize already, ask around [literal translation: spread our antennas], see how we can prepare the terrain for this important contract. My suggestion is that we go high, if possible at the Comissioner’s Cabinet lor Director General level. I personally know the guy in CC, Bent Hauschildt, he was my interlocutor from EC for the EP report (he knows the situation very very very well) but apparently he’s dodging me because of his boss. The boys certainly have leverage already in place, as big interests are swarming around, but let’s see if we can still get involved.
We’ll talk and analyse what’s the best way to go.
P.S. Attaching the presentation of the program
From: Kemail@example.com [mailto:Kfirstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 1:24 PM
To: Mircea Cotoros
Subject: RE: ISA Programme
Dear Mr Cotoros,
My colleague passed your request for a meeting to me.
As it unclear to me why you want to meet with us, would it be possible to be a bit more specific on the issues you would like to discuss with us?
Two preliminary remarks as to ensure that we correctly understand each other:
The legal base of the ISA programme specifies that „the ISA programme shall be implemented in accordance with Community public procurement rules”. This implies that work under the ISA programme will be executed, either under one of the ICT related framework contracts that are regularly concluded by the European Commission (after open calls for tender) or under ISA specific contracts signed after having executed the appropriate procurement procedures. We will in due time, using the official channels, inform the market of our intentions – and we cannot discuss this in advance with any specific company.
· We have decided for the ISA programme to be as transparent as possible in our contacts with industry interest representatives. We have no intention to restrict our contacts with industry interest representatives but we want these contacts to be known to all. We will therefore systematically report on our meetings with such representatives, register and file these reports and we are also thinking about listing these contacts on our website. May we therefore also suggest that you sign up in the European Commission’s Register of interest representatives.
Karel De Vriendt
Head of Unit
Directorate-general for Informatics
European eGovernment Services (IDABC)
http: //ec.europa.eu/idabc, http: //ec.europa.eu/isa
Be transparent – Sign up to the European Commission’s Register of Interest Representatives http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regrin
Dear Mr Davidescu,
I am retired from the Commission since end 2011 and I have no access to
my e-mail archive. And I would doubt if such archive would still be
available at the Commission.
That having said, the e-mail you forwarded to me look authentic – and,
without remembering the name of Mr Cotoros, I remember having sent such
However, there was no attempt to bribe anybody. Sometimes, commercial
organisations wanted to meet because they believed we needed their
products or services. As we worked strictly via public procurement
procedures, we were not interested in this kind of attempts to
influence us. Hence we refused to meet.
We also systematically suggested that organizations that try to
influence the Commission in any way should register in the lobby
I hope this clarifies things.
Karel De Vriendt
On Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:18:00 +0100
Lucian Davidescu <email@example.com> wrote:
Dear mr. De-Vriendt,
> I am an independent journalist writing for several publication in
> Romania as well as for my website riscograma.ro
> Recently, I published a story about the e-mails of Romanian
> intelligence director George Maior, leaked by a hacker called
> http: //riscograma.ro/8243/dezvaluirile-lui-guccifer-sri-stia-de-patru-ani-ca-firma-lui-ghita-a-pus-la-punct-un-sistem-diabolic-bazat-pe-spagi/
> One of the e-mails from informer Nelu Neacsu described an alleged
> attempt of bribery directed towards your office at the European
> Comission, back in 2010. As it turns out, you discouraged that
> bluntly, by questioning the need for a preliminary meeting and
> suggesting formal, transparent channels.
> As proof to the allegation, an e-mail from you was included in the
> After the e-mails surfaced, mr. Cotoros went to say that the
> allegations are not true, even suggesting that the very exchange of
> e-mails never existed.
> For this reason, I’m writing to ask you to kindly confirm or deny the
> authenticity of the said e-mail, as well as provide any and all
> comments you see fit regarding this situation.
> Best regards,
> Lucian Davidescu
> publisher at riscograma.ro
> From: Kfirstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:Kemail@example.com] Sent: Monday, February 15,
> 2010 1:24 PM To: Mircea Cotoros
> Cc: Bfirstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: ISA Programme
> Dear Mr Cotoros,
> My colleague passed your request for a meeting to me.
> As it unclear to me why you want to meet with us, would it be
> possible to be a bit more specific on the issues you would like to
> discuss with us?
> Two preliminary remarks as to ensure that we correctly understand each
> The legal base of the ISA programme specifies that „the ISA
> programme shall be implemented in accordance with Community public
> procurement rules”. This implies that work under the ISA programme
> will be executed, either under one of the ICT related framework
> contracts that are regularly concluded by the European Commission
> (after open calls for tender) or under ISA specific contracts signed
> after having executed the appropriate procurement procedures. We will
> in due time, using the official channels, inform the market of our
> intentions – and we cannot discuss this in advance with any specific
> · We have decided for the ISA programme to be as transparent
> as possible in our contacts with industry interest representatives.
> We have no intention to restrict our contacts with industry interest
> representatives but we want these contacts to be known to all. We
> will therefore systematically report on our meetings with such
> representatives, register and file these reports and we are also
> thinking about listing these contacts on our website. May we
> therefore also suggest that you sign up in the European Commission’s
> Register of interest representatives.
> Kind regards,
> Karel De Vriendt
> Head of Unit
> European Commission
> Directorate-general for Informatics
> European eGovernment Services (IDABC)
> http://ec.europa.eu/idabc, http://ec.europa.eu/isa
> Be transparent – Sign up to the European Commission’s Register of
> Interest Representatives http://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regrin