Romania: Former Organized Crime Prosecutor and Former Tax Chief Arrested for 'Bribery'

Published: 03 September 2015

Alina Bica

By Igor Spaic

Romanian authorities have detained the country's former chief prosecutor for organized crime and the former head of the tax authority, both of whom are suspected of taking bribes from a businessman to sway a property restitution case in his favor.

According to anti-corruption investigators, top prosecutor Alina Bica took a € 17,500 (US$ 19,706) bribe from Serban Pop in November 2014, when he was tax chief.

It is alleged that the kickback was paid on behalf of Horia Simu, owner of Cuprom, Romania's only copper production firm.

According to allegations, Simu had paid Pop about € 230,000 (US$258,997) to exert influence on the courts to drop an investigation into his alleged involvement in fraudulent property restitution.

Property restitution in Romania involves returning the property, or money equal to the value of the property, that was nationalized by the state in the 1940s to the families of its former owners.

It is believed Pop in turn paid Bica the € 17,500.

Prosecutors say that after Bica was bribed, she took the prosecutor who was investigating Simuoff his case,then pressured their replacement to resolve the probe in Simu's favor.

Bica and Pop were detained Tuesday, and on Wednesday a judge ordered the two into preventive arrest for up to 30 days.