Romania: President’s Brother’s Accused in Bribery Scandal

Published: 20 June 2014


Romanian President Traian Basescu


Prosecutors have detained Mircea Basescu, the brother of Romanian President Traian Basescu, for allegedly accepting bribes to sway the judiciary to reduce a prison sentence for crime boss Sandu Anghel, reports Euractiv.

Sandu Anghel was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison for the nearly fatal stabbing of his nephew in a bar in 2011.

Reuters reports that Florin Anghel, the son of Sandu Anghel, sent a Romanian TV station audio and video recordings that allegedly suggest Mircea Basescu was paid US$ 340,200 to help Sandu Anghel.

The news station also insinuated that President Basescu was aware of the bribe.

Mircea Basescu has denied the allegations. He admitted that the recordings are authentic, but said that his statements were taken out of context, said the Washington Post.

According to Romania Insider, Florin Anghel’s complaint was filed after Mircea Basescu had filed a complaint against Florin for blackmail. Mircea Basescu claimed that the younger Anghel demanded US$ 380,829 in return for staying silent on potentially damaging information about him and his family.

Florin is currently under investigation for blackmail.

The scandal has prompted Victor Ponta, the Prime Minister of Romania, to call for President Basescu to resign because his political platform was based on anti-corruption and an independent judiciary, reports Euractiv.

Romania Insider reports that President Basescu denied interfering on his brother’s behalf. He said that he only accuses his brother of involvement with questionable people, but not of taking bribes.

The president also said that it is up to the judiciary to decide if his brother did something illegal and that he should face justice like any other citizen.

“I can assure you that between the need to strengthen the judiciary and the natural urge to defend my brother, I will always choose the former,” he said.