The Romanian Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted Attila Markó, former secretary of state for minorities and former MP of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romanian (RMDSZ). Markó had been sentenced to five years in prison by the Bucharest court as a former member of the Restitution Committee within the National Agency for Property Restoration (ANRP).
In 2014, Attila Markó was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence for his contribution to the return of the nationalized church property of Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe, the Székely Mikó College, as a member of the competent restitution body. After accusations were made against the RMDSZ politician in further restitution cases on the principle of collective responsibility, Attila Markó announced in 2015 that he was seeking refuge in Hungary because he no longer trusted the Romanian justice system. Yesterday’s decision was made in his absence, as Romania had previously issued an international warrant against him.
According to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), the 12 defendants in this case, including the eight members of the Restitution Committee, caused nearly EUR 85 million of damage to the Romanian state budget due to overvalued retrocessions. In this case, only the former vice president of the Restoration Committee, Theodor-Cătălin Nicolescu, and a real estate appraiser were found guilty. The other defendants were acquitted. Nicolescu was sentenced to eight years in prison for accepting bribes but was acquitted, as were the other members of the committee, of malfeasance.
“The truth came out… I was acquitted in the second restoration case. The right decision was made: those who stole were sentenced, those who did not steal were acquitted. However, I would like to remind everyone that there are two other trials – same as my other two trials – in which they wanted (and still want) to arrest me. Of course, these acquittals have a lot to do with their outcome, but these have not restored my confidence in Romanian justice. The decision made in the Miko trial against me proves that anything is possible. But we must trust in the truth, let’s pray together!” wrote Attila Markó on his Facebook page yesterday.
“The good news is that Attila Markó has finally been acquitted in one of the three restoration cases. We trusted Attila’s innocence from the first minute, and now we hope for similar decisions in the other two trials. They harassed a man and destroyed him. We should know who will be responsible for this,” said Hunor Kelemen, president of the RMDSZ.
Title image: Attila Markó faces two other trials