Former MP Sebastian Ghita, who has been missing since 21 December 2016, claimed in a newly-released video that Nicolae Popa, sentenced to 15 years in jail for the bankruptcy of the National Investment Fund (FNI), was brought back to Romania after a Ploiesti-based company paid EUR 200,000, at the request of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) head Laura Codruta Kovesi and of the Romanian state.
In the video, broadcast on Monday evening by Romania TV, Ghita alleged that his company, Asesoft, acted as an intermediary for the construction company, which paid the amount in order to pay for Nicolae Popa’s plane ticket for an Indonesia-Romania one-way trip. Nicolae Popa, who had left Romania in 2000, was living in Jakarta.
“At the request of Kovesi, a construction company from Ploiesti, which received money from Asesoft, was the one that paid for the plane [ticket] to bring Mr. Nicolae Popa from Indonesia. The reality is that a private company, at the request of the Romanian state, paid EUR 200,000 to bring the one who caused the bankruptcy of the FNI and who robbed hundreds of thousands of Romanians. I ask Ms. Kovesi: what type of operation is this? Are we guilty of money laundering? Is it just her or only me? I acted in the name of the Romanian state?” Ghita said in the video, the third broadcast by Romania TV, since his disappearance on December 21.
In 2006, Popa was sentenced to 15 years in jail for fraud, alongside Ioana Maria Vlas, for the bankruptcy of the FNI in 2000. Around 100,000 Romanianslost their money and the Romanian state, which had acted as a guarantor, was forced to pay around EUR 100,000,000.
Shortly after the collapse of the FNI, Popa left the country and two years later, an international arrest warrant was released on his name. He was arrested in 2 December 2009 by the Indonesian authorities, and brought to Romania on 22 December 2011.
According to Romanian press, Popa was brought to Romanian with a “charter flight.” Popa is currently serving a sentence of 10 years and four months at the Giurgiu maximum security prison.