Romanian Local Politician Caught Receiving a 250.000 Euro Bribe

Published: 26 September 2023

Dumitru Buzatu Vaslui County   president caught on camera while receiving the bribe Buzatu caught on camera while receiving the bribe. (Photo:

By Attila Biro

Police in Romania detained a local official after they caught him receiving a 250,000 euro bribe from a construction company as a 10% cut from a EU-funded project contract.

Authorities were secretly monitoring the handover and recorded when Dumitru Buzatu, the President of the County Council of Vaslui, one of the poorest regions in the country, received a brown leather bag with 1.25 million lei and put it in his trunk.

"This bag and the amount of money inside belong to me; it is money from my savings," Buzatu told the policemen who stopped him. He later claimed that the owner of the construction company had borrowed the money from him and was returning the loan. Prosecutors dismissed his claims, arguing that Buzatu was pursuing the bribe for months.

Buzatu was placed into a 30-days-long detention and charged by Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Department.

The owner of the construction company agreed to collaborate with the police and explained that he was awarded in 2019 over 16 million euros in road construction contracts. He finalized part of the contracts and expected a 2.4 million euro payment for the invoices filed to Vaslui County. The contractor claimed Buzatu had stopped the payment and indirectly asked for a 10% bribe.

"With his actions, Buzatu Dumitru made me understand that he claims a percentage of at least 10% of the amount that Vaslui County is going to pay to SC Soragmin SRL,” the contractor wrote in his statement.