Romanian Transport Minister gets five years for corruption and abuse of office
The Romanian Transport Minister Relu F. was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges in an unprecedented verdict handed down by the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Romanian media reported, July 14.
“Minister of Transport Relu F. was handed down […] a five-year term in prison in the ‘Transformer’ case, tried before the High Court of Cassation and Justice for aggravated abuse of office,” Nineoclock.ro reported. “It is the first time that an incumbent minister is being handed down a prison sentence.”
Relu F. was accused of selling old electrical equipment and passing it off as new to a company called Electricity Maintenance Subsidiary Moldova (SISEE Moldova). Managers of the company also favored the Transport Minister’s companies in public tenders.
Relu F’s. brother Lucian, who was a shareholder and manager at his brother’s companies, and business associate Mihai Bogdan D., were also given five-year prison sentences. Managers of the electricity company SISEE Moldova Ioan T. and Ioan M. were sentenced to six years in prison and Petru A., one of the managers at Electrica Moldova, was given a seven-year sentence.
The suspects will also have to pay a total of RON 6.3 mln (EUR 1.4 mln) in damages to SISEE Moldova, and their assets will be seized by the court.
Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) launched the case against three managers at SISEE Moldova and Relu F. in June 2012.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta has taken over as interim Transport Minister until the National Liberal Party (PNL) puts forward a new candidate. He has also announced that a new law may be drawn up in Romania, immediately removing from office any politician who is pronounced guilty of a crime in court, regardless of whether this is a final ruling.
The verdict in the Relu F. case is not final and can be appealed.