The first deputy director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), Florian Coldea, was suspended on Thursday, January 12, several days after runaway investor Sebastian Ghita accused him of blackmailing former Prime Minister Victor Ponta without presenting any evidence.
Coldea, who has been SRI’s deputy director for 12 years, is one of the most powerful people in Romania. He is the top operative officer of the intelligence service and the only higher position is that of the SRI director, who is named by the Parliament at the President’s proposal. Eduard Hellvig is the SRI director.
“Following the information that appeared related to Lieutenant-General Florian Coldea, which has been subject to preliminary checks, the SRI director, Eduard Hellvig, has decided, according to the procedures, the formation of a special committee to verify possible violations of the law or professional ethics,” reads a SRI press release. “By the time this verification is finalized, Lieutenant-General Florian Coldea will be at the disposal of the SRI director, who will take over his duties. The committee will check the circumstances presented publicly and the documents provided by Florian Coldea,” SRI added.
The decision to suspend Coldea comes after his name appeared a lot in the local media lately due to runaway investor Sebastian Ghita’s video confessions. Ghita, who disappeared just before Christmas, and is now wanted by the Romanian authorities, has had seven video recordings made and aired by his television, Romanian TV. In these videos, Ghita, talks about his alleged friendship with Florian Coldea and chief anticorruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.