Crime clan clashes, weapon smugglers or Roma selling children used for beggary abroad – coordinates of DIICOT’s work last year.
According to the work report presented at the end of last week by the head of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), Codrut Olaru, in 2010 the organization recorded the best statistical data ever since its foundation in 2004.
The DIICOT prosecutors solved a total of 8,119 cases, more by 15.36 per cent compared to 2009, and prepared 908 indictments, more by 28.86 per cent compared to the previous year. At the same time, 3,178 defendants – up 37.93 per cent – were referred to court in 2010. ‘The outstanding quality of the criminal investigation and judicial activity is reflected by the percentage of acquitted defendants (22) in the total of 3,178 defendants brought to justice, of 0.69 per cent’, reads the DIICOT report cited by Mediafax.
In 2010, DIICOT seized EUR 4.2 M worth of drugs. While until a few years ago, the anti-drug fight would mainly go towards deterring heroin abuse, more recently the activity has focussed on ethno-botanic substances. In Bucharest, however, heroin continues to be the most widely used drug.
At the chapter of exploitation and trafficking in human beings for labour, at this point, Romania is not just a source country, but also a country of destination. ‘There are cases we are working on including groups of South-American nationals brought into Romania to do specific more or less well remunerated jobs, who have been victims of exploitation. There are operations in progress. Many such trafficked persons are from South America, and a few Pakistanis and Indians,’ said the DIICOT chief.
According to Olaru, the total number of victims of human trafficking, ‘regardless of the nature of exploitation – sexual or through labour – was 907 in 2010. No one has been prosecuted so far, all cases being at an early stage of the criminal investigation. In fact, 2010 is also the year of the biggest operation against trafficking in human beings, conducted in co-operation with the British judicial police. Over 25 individuals were arrested in Tandarei on suspicion of child trafficking for beggary to London. Codrut Olaru however believes Romania is ‘a fortunate country’ as it has no reported cases of terrorism, in that department the emphasis falling on prevention rather than investigation work.
Arm smuggling was not at all absent in 2010 either. A total of 17 people were brought to trial in the Ciorogarla arm theft case. According to Realitatea TV, a rather unusual case of paid assassinates allegedly ordered by businessman Sergiu Bahaian was dealt with last year. The investigators found that the suspect was setting up companies registered in the name of individuals who would then disappear suddenly after concluding loan agreements with various banks. Last year also came with the most comprehensive operation consisting of domiciliary searches in cyber-crime cases. Over 100 searches were made in 12 counties following reports from over 600 mostly US and Canadian victims of Romanian hackers.
Also attending was Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu who announced the fact that a new structure had been mad operational within the Ministry of Justice – the National debt Collection Office, which would pay ‘special attention’ to the process of seizing and recovering proceeds of crime. The setting up of the new department will send out the message of a fundamental change of approach in the fight against organised crime and corruption. The newly-established structure will cover three different ‘extremely important’ levels: the first one is the operative exchange of data and intelligence with counterpart EU services; the second is the ‘identification and dissemination of best practice in the area of tracking and collecting debts which are either proceeds of crime or obtained in connection with crimes’; and the third one is ‘the promotion of public policies in the criminal area, with an emphasis on measures of a strategic character conducive to an energetic and firm response to organised crime and corruption.’