Former Deputy Mayor of Kolozsvár/Cluj Anna Horváth, 45, was sentenced to a two-year, suspended prison sentence by the Romanian Supreme Court. Her lawyer, Sergiu Bogdan, said Horváth maintains that she is innocent and will contest the ruling.
Horváth was under surveillance by SRI, the main Romanian domestic intelligence service, for several months in 2016 for undeclared “national security reasons”. In the same year, SRI handed over to the Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) a secret voice recording of a conversation between Horváth and local businessman Zsolt Fodor. Based on the SRI’s rough translation of the almost hour-long conversation, DNA brought charges against Horváth for alleged money laundering and influence peddling.
In the SRI’s transcript of the voice recording – made public earlier – the former deputy mayor asked Fodor to get 60 festival tickets for volunteers in a campaign that took place in the summer of 2016. Much later in the conversation, and clearly in an unrelated matter, she said she will help him check on the reason that a building permit was being delayed. Nothing in the conversation indicates that the two matters would be connected in any way.
Although the mentioned voice recording – which Horváth’s lawyer says was maliciously translated by the SRI – was the only piece of evidence, she was still convicted, despite the fact that in an earlier and unrelated ruling, the Romanian Constitutional Court clearly said that courts cannot accept as permissible evidence recordings that have been made under secret service surveillance.
The court cleared Horváth of the money laundering charge. Bogdan said they will appeal the decision in the Romanian courts and, if necessary, take it to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
In a recent Facebook entry conveying the news of her conviction, Horváth again said she is innocent and will not give up the fight to prove her innocence.