Romania: Former Head of Tax Agency Questioned on Bribery Charges

Romanian anti-corruption officials questioned the former head of the country’s tax agency on Monday on accusations that he took a bribe in exchange for awarding public contracts, the anti-corruption agency said in a statement.

ANAF emblema.svgANAF logo (Photo: Luciandrei)Sorin Blejnar, the former head of Romania’s National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF), allegedly received more than 13 million Romanian lei (US$ 3.23 million) between November 2011 and January 2012 to steer a large public procurement contract from the tax agency to an IT company, Romsys, local media reports.

He is accused of splitting the money with subordinates who awarded the public contracts.

The allegations arose from Horatiu Bruna Berdila and Gheorghe Stefan, who accused Blejnar of receiving the bribe at a 2012 meeting in France, news outlet Romania TV reports. Both Berdila, the CEO of Romsys, and Stefan, a Romanian politician, have allegedly been involved with corruption schemes, OCCRP has previously reported.

In June, Blejnar was sentenced to five years in prison without parole in a separate case of tax evasion and setting up an organized crime group, according to local media. The court ruled that Blejnar helped two local investors, Radu and Diana Neme, to run a network of companies to illegally trade diesel fuel without paying taxes.

The corruption scheme allegedly cost the state budget €56 million (US$ 61.84 million).

Blejnar has appealed that ruling to the Bucharest Appeals Court; it has yet to be heard.

The former head of the ANAF has denied wrongdoing in this latest case. Asked Monday about the accusers’ motives, he said that they are accusing him to lessen their own potential implication in the case.