Fugitive Romanian businessman Ghita arrested in Serbia

Fugitive Romanian businessman Ghita arrested in Serbia
By bne IntelliNews April 17, 2017

Fugitive Romanian businessman and MP Sebastian Ghita has been located and detained in Serbia, four months after he was last seen. The Serbian high court decided to put him under arrest for two months.

Ghita, who is being investigated by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in connection to several corruption scandals, escaped from police surveillance in Romania on December 21. Following his disappearance, his TV station broadcast a series of taped statements in which he made serious accusations against the deputy head of the Romanian intelligence service and the DNA head. Ghita's return to the country might bring clarifications to the accusations he has made during the recorded televised statements. 

Following the scandal, deputy head of Romanian intelligence Florian Coldea was forced to step down on January 17. 

Ghita has claimed that both Coldea and DNA head Laura Codruta Kovesi were propelled in their careers by “foreign secret services”, even accusing them of being “agents”. In a previous episode, he said that Coldea had forced his friend former Prime Minister Victor Ponta to appoint Kovesi as head of the DNA. 

Romanian interior Minister Carmen Dan said Ghita was caught by Serbian police on the street and did not put up any resistance, News.ro reported. Dan added that the extradition procedure might take up to 40 days. Ghita was carrying false identity documents when he was caught.

Unnamed sources told News.ro that Ghita was found after investigators followed his brother, who first travelled to Istanbul and then to Belgrade. According to the sources, Ghita was accompanied by his brother when he was found and presented Serbian policemen who detained him with Slovenian documents.

The Romanian police thanked their counterparts from Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Montenegri, Croatia, Austria, Italy and France for their cooperation in the investigation.

Rumours about Ghita hiding in Serbia appeared in the media in mid-March. According to Hotnews sources, Ghita had been visited in Serbia by close collaborators and discussed new ways of compromising Kovesi. The sources claimed that Ghita wanted to take advantage of the good relationship between Ponta and Serbian Prime Minister and president-elect Aleksandar Vucic. However, Ponta has repeatedly said he does not know where Ghita is.

The Serbian Supreme Court decided to put Ghita under arrest for two months, News.ro reported. He is expected to be extradited to Romania. 

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