Saturday

10th Dec 2016

Romanian judge claims European immunity in jewels-for-verdicts case

  • A businessman admitted giving jewels to the judge, but 'out of friendship' (Photo: EUobserver)

Romania's judge at the European Court of Human Rights on Friday (14 October) claimed diplomatic immunity for his wife, a judge under investigation for allegedly receiving jewellery, holiday tickets and expensive restaurant meals for favourable verdicts in the country's highest appeals court.

ECHR judge Corneliu Barsan said prosecutors who searched his home and confiscated his wife's computer and documents violated the Vienna Convention, which covers both him and his spouse, Gabriela.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But legal advice from the country's top magistrate council said the search was legal as immunity is not granted to judges for their own benefit or to hamper the course of justice. A final vote on the legality of the move will be taken by the magistrates' council on Tuesday.

The vote is set to be closely watched by the European Commission, which has repeatedly criticised the council for being too lenient with misbehaving judges. Romania, as well as Bulgaria, are still being monitored by the EU executive on how they deal with corruption and organised crime. This is also the reason why entry into the border-free Schengen area was delayed indefinitely by the Netherlands and Finland last month.

Gabriela Barsan, who heads the administrative and fiscal litigation department in Romania's top appeals court, is accused - together with a subordinate - of having received jewellery, plane tickets and expensive restaurant dinners in exchange for favourable verdicts. The businessman who allegedly paid the bribes, Gabriel Chiriac, has claimed that he gave them jewellery "out of friendship", Romania Libera newspaper reported.

Chiriac was involved in real estate deals of over €600 million in the past few years, including the privatisation of electricity and textile industries. The transactions, involving US hedge funds and Cyprus off-shore companies, are under investigation by the country's anti-money laundry unit.

In a separate case, the head of the national employment agency, Silviu Bian, was arrested over the weekend for having received over €50,000 in bribes. According to prosecutors, he ordered that 25 percent of money from EU-funded projects be channelled to his own accounts.

Children's rights at risk in EU hotspots

Lack of lawyers and other staff has caused logjams on asylum claims, which particularly hurt children, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency told MEPs.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First