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EXCLUSIVE Ilie Sârbu, father-in-law of former PM Victor Ponta and current honorary…

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EXCLUSIVE Ilie Sârbu, father-in-law of former PM Victor Ponta and current honorary advisor to Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, appointed to Romanian Forest Agency Romsilva Board amidst controversy over previous corruption probe for illegal forest restitutions

Ilie Sârbu, 73, father-in-law of former Prime Minister Victor Ponta and honorary advisor to Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu, was appointed a member of the board of directors of the Romanian Forest Agency Rosilva, according to an order signed by Environment Minister Mircea Fechet (PNL). Sârbu has no expertise in the forestry sector, having previously served as vice-president of the Court of Audit. In 2014, the DNA (National Anticorruption Directorate) opened a criminal investigation into Sârbu in the case of illegal land restitutions that left Rosilva without 44,000 hectares of forests, but in 2018 it dropped the charges.

Minister Fechet appointed Ilie Sârbu to the Romsilva board on November 23, through a ministerial order. Sârbu is a provisional member of the board of directors.

Subsequently, by a decision of the Romsilva board of directors on December 12, 2023, Ilie Sârbu was appointed a member of the audit committee of the autonomous agency.

It is worth noting that Ilie Sârbu was in charge, as vice-president of the Court of Audit, of the department that audited Romsilva, according to information from G4Media.

UPDATE: Environment Minister Mircea Fechet justified the appointment of Ilie Sârbu to Romsilva in an interview with Europa Liberă, saying that he was also Minister of the Environment. „I don’t want to give my opinion about him. He was still, in the past, a term, Minister of the Environment, if some qualify this sufficiently, to be able to be part of a provisional board of directors…”, Fechet said.

In October 2014, DNA prosecutors announced that Ilie Sârbu was under investigation in the high-profile Romsilva fraud case, along with Viorel Hrebenciuc, former MP Ioan Adam, and former Romsilva director Adam Crăciunescu. At the time, prosecutors alleged that the four had formed a criminal gang in 2012 that rigged a land restitution process, resulting in the disappearance of over 40,000 hectares of forest from Romsilva’s property.

In 2018, DNA prosecutors closed the case against Ilie Sârbu, citing a lack of evidence that he had committed the crime. According to a DNA press release, „An analysis of the evidence showed that there is insufficient evidence to support the commission by the person in question of the crimes of using influence by a person holding a leadership position in a party in order to obtain benefits for himself or another and supporting an organized criminal group.”

The Supreme Court of Cassation and Justice ordered the termination of the criminal case against the defendants in the case in November 2023, on the grounds that the offenses they were accused of had reached the statute of limitations.

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Ilie Sârbu’s net worth

According to his financial disclosure statement, Ilie Sârbu owns three urban plots of land in Bucharest, two apartments in Bucharest, jewelry worth 35,000 euros, and paintings worth 10,000 euros. He also has 239,000 lei in a bank account.

In 2023, he earned 325,000 lei from the Court of Audit as a salary. He also earned a pension of 72,000 lei from the Pension Fund, as well as a special pension from the Senate of almost 52,000 lei.

Ilie Sârbu’s CV

Ilie Sârbu is a priest by profession. Between 1976 and 1981, he was a teacher and director at the Caransebeș Theological Seminary. In the period 1984–1990, he was an economic advisor at the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of Timișoara and Caransebeș. Between 1991 and 2000, he was the director of the Fangmeier Timișoara company, after which he began his political career.

In 2000, he became the president of the Timiș County Council for a few months, then he was the Minister of Agriculture in the Adrian Năstase government (PSD) for four years. In the 2004-2008 legislature, he was a senator from Timiș for the PSD. In the period October-December 2008, following the resignation of Nicolae Văcăroiu, he was the President of the Senate of Romania.

At the 2008 legislative elections, he won a new mandate as a senator from Timiș. On December 22, 2008, he was sworn in as Minister of Agriculture in the first Boc government (PD-PSD), a position he held until October 1, 2009.

He returned to parliament in 2012 as a PSD senator, and in 2015 he was appointed vice-president of the Audit Authority by parliament. From 2020 to 2023, he was vice-president of the Court of Audit.

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