07BUCHAREST1267 / 2007-11-09 05:52:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 001267 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE DEPT FOR EUR/NCE - AARON JENSEN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2017 
TAGS: PGOV, KCOR, KJUS, PREL, RO 
SUBJECT: ROMANIA: AMBASSADOR'S MEETING WITH PROSECUTOR 
GENERAL KOVESI 
 
REF: BUCHAREST 1230 AND PREVIOUS 
 
Classified By: Political Counselor Theodore Tanoue for Reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary. In a meeting with the Ambassador, Prosecutor 
General Kovesi expressed concern that new amendments to the 
Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code would affect all 
court cases and turn Romania into a "paradise for crime." 
Kovesi expected parliament to override the president's veto 
and noted that this was just the latest in a series of moves 
to erode prosecutorial independence.  The Ambassador raised 
concerns that Romania was becoming a haven for cyber crime; 
Kovesi responded by welcoming enhanced cooperation from the 
embassy on cyber crime and corruption in particular.  End 
Summary. 
 
2. (C) The Ambassador met with Prosecutor General Laura 
Kovesi on November 7 and discussed the effects of 
parliament's recently passed amendments to the Criminal Code 
and Criminal Procedure Code (reftel) as well the need to 
enhance bilateral cooperation on cyber crime.  Kovesi said 
she feared that the sweeping changes (which the interpreter 
labeled simply "criminal amendments") would affect all cases 
before the courts and turn Romania into a "paradise" for 
crime.  She said that parliament was likely to override an 
expected presidential veto. 
 
3. (C) Kovesi observed that prosecutors' work on corruption 
cases involving five current ministers, several past 
ministers and many high-level public servants had "attracted 
adversity."  She claimed that Justice Minister Chiuariu only 
feigned support and that his actions were aimed at 
restricting prosecutors, as evidenced by his attempt to 
dismiss a key anticorruption prosecutor at the National 
Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).  She added that the 
Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) was disappointingly 
silent about recent legislative actions, and complained of 
the lack of institutional outrage against dismantling the 
independence of prosecutors. 
 
4. (C) She said that the amendments followed three other 
significant moves by the government and legislature to impede 
prosecution of serious crime in Romania.  These included 
parliament's rejection of the law establishing the 
Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and 
Terrorism (DIICOT) which would have empowered DIICOT to 
prosecute organized crime in the same way that DNA had been 
made responsible for prosecuting high-level corruption.  The 
President had sent the law back to parliament and the law was 
now blocked in parliament, with opponents of prosecutorial 
independence possibly aiming to reorganize DIICOT and DNA to 
limit their independence. 
 
5. (C) A second blow came in the changes enforced 
retroactively to the law on ministerial responsibility, in 
which the Constitutional Court decided (in response to an 
appeal in the ongoing corruption case against former Prime 
Minister Adrian Nastase) that former ministers should enjoy 
the same immunity from prosecution as current ministers, 
lifted only with presidential or parliamentary approval.  The 
DNA had appealed the High Court's application of this 
constitutional finding to Nastase's case since such findings 
usually were not applied retroactively.  Kovesi said that the 
government dismantled the president's "green light" 
commission and had yet to reconstitute a replacement, 
effectively blocking ten cases against past and current 
ministers from being prosecuted. 
 
6. (C) The third blow came in September when parliament 
modified the Fiscal Code to prevent financial inspectors from 
requesting investigations following routine controls.  Kovsei 
said that prosecutors no longer had the administrative 
reports necessary to launch money laundering investigations. 
She said the reality was that all files regarding 
macroeconomic crimes were now blocked and that her office 
could direct resources only toward a few cases. 
 
7. (C) Kovesi complained that her office was not consulted 
before major changes were made by parliament, and that 
prosecutors were summoned by a parliamentary commission in an 
attempt to force investigators to reveal details of ongoing 
investigations.  She noted bitterly that the underlying 
philosophy behind these moves was the presumption that 
"prosecutors are breaking the law and suspects are victimized 
and need protection." 
 
8. (C) In an exegesis of the worst aspects of the revised 
Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, Kovesi said that 
prosecutors would now have to seek in writing a suspect's 
 
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refusal to hand over evidence before being able to seek a 
warrant from a judge.  She described an absurd scene where 
police would have to ask a suspect to hand over drugs, write 
down the refusal, then hope that a search warrant might help 
them find something when they returned.  Similarly, an 
apprehended homicide suspect would have to be released out of 
police custody if the defense attorney asked for the 
additional 24 hours guaranteed in the new amendment.  She 
added that nearly all criminal investigations would be 
limited to six months, unless technical expertise was 
required.  She said this arbitrary time limit would nullify 
several hundred pending cases.  Kovesi said that the most 
worrying provision was a new 10 million euro threshold for 
"serious" crimes.  She added that lesser crimes would have 
narrower statutes of limitations that would likely draw only 
suspended sentences. 
 
9. (C) Kovesi was also critical of Romania's judicial system, 
noting that she was recently reprimanded by the High Court 
when she spoke out against recent judgments that referred 
high-level cases back to prosecutors for procedural reasons. 
She noted an 82-year-old woman was sentenced to prison during 
the same time period and asked rhetorically "Why is it okay 
to decide in this case, but avoid politicians' cases?" 
 
10. (C) The Ambassador brought to Kovesi's attention the slow 
progress in the investigation of a Romanian hacker who had 
caused serious damage to eBay over several years, noting that 
eBay might soon decide to block Romanian IP addresses from 
its services, and that five other e-commerce companies were 
considering following suit.  Kovesi said she would speak with 
the case prosecutor, figure out what needs to be done, and 
meet with the visiting senior eBay executives next week. 
Kovesi said she highly valued U.S. training provided in cyber 
crime and welcomed greater cooperation.  She said that the 
fight against organized crime, corruption, cyber crime, and 
credit card fraud were among her top priorities, and welcomed 
further support from the Embassy in specifically addressing 
cyber crime and corruption.  Kovesi thanked the Ambassador 
for taking the initiative to meet, and thanked the Embassy 
for its intention to release a press statement that would 
draw some attention to the problems of the new criminal code 
amendments. 
 
11. (C) Comment: Prosecutor General Kovesi's concerns 
regarding the impact of the recent parliamentary changes to 
the criminal statutes appear to be well-founded. 
Institutionally, prosecutors appear isolated and under 
increasing political pressure.  While Democratic Party and 
Liberal Democratic Party parliamentarians have assured us 
that they will vote against these amendments when they are 
vetoed by President Basescu, we have heard informally that 
the old guard of the Social Democrats and the governing 
Liberals have the votes to override.  The Ambassador will 
continue to speak out against these amendments, and plans to 
give a speech next week reviewing both past accomplishments 
and conveying challenges in the areas of civil society, press 
freedom, and the fight against corruption.  End Comment. 
TAUBMAN 

            
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