Romania’s National Anti-corruption Agency (DNA) has announced that it has completed work on the Microsoft case file, the largest corruption investigation in the history of Romania. DNA has admitted to a major judiciary error.

Seven former ministers who had been accused of various corruption acts in the case have had their files permanently closed, after a new case prosecutor discovered that they had been indicted after the crimes had been time-barred. They had been charged with abuse of office, which has a statute of limitations of 10 years.

The persons involved were Ecaterina Andronescu, Alexandru Athanasiu, Daniel Funeriu, Mihai Tanasescu, Serban Mihailescu, Dan Nica and Adriana Ticau. For Daniel Funeriu, former Education minister, the new prosecutor concluded that the act he had been accused of is not valid as a violation of the penal code.

However, businessmen Dinu Pescariu and Claudiu Florica have been indicted for money laundering in the Microsoft file, done through a fictitious consulting services contract worth over USD 22 million.

The acts discovered by prosecutors referred to a period between 2013-2014, when ministers signed Governmental Decisions which approved a contract between the government and Fujitsu Siemens Computers for buying licences and educational products by Microsoft. However, in order to benefit Fujitsu Siemens, the Decisions falsely claimed that this company was the unique distributor of Microsoft licences; therefore the expansion of the contract was done without a justified necessity. The contract violated legal provisions regarding public acquisitions.

The total damages to the state budget were estimated at almost USD 67 million.

Had the original case prosecutor, Mihaela Moraru Iorga, indicted the seven former ministers a few months earlier, the DNA would have earned a few years to continue the investigation without the statute of limitations running out. Iorga was fired from DNA last year.

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