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August 3, 2021

Brasov mayor, prefect heard in corruption case

Brasov Mayor George Scripcaru and Brasov County Prefect Ion Gontea were heard by anticorruption prosecutors yesterday in a corruption case where the former head of the local Consumer Protection Office (OPC), Ionel Spataru, is accused of taking bribes.

Scripcaru was summoned by anticorruption prosecutors to give a witness statement, according to Mediafax news agency. It is not yet known why Gontea was subpoenaed. The prefect refused to make any statements to reporters before going in for questioning. Deputy prefect Carol Ambrus was also heard by anticorruption investigators yesterday. In the case, Spataru, on preventive arrest since October 13, is charged with taking bribes from a company manager in exchange for a functioning authorisation. According to prosecutors, Spataru demanded RON 300,000 from the person in question. He reportedly received EUR 60,000 in two instalments, through intermediaries, between July and October. He was caught when receiving an instalment of the money. Spataru was replaced as head of OPC Brasov as soon as he was taken into preventive custody.

After being heard by prosecutors, Scripcaru told reporters that he had limited knowledge of the case, baaed only on what he heard in the media. He added that he and Spataru never talked about reopening any markets and insisted that he never received money or favours. He admitted that his office deals with coordinating markets’ activity in Brasov, but insisted that he has no decision-making power in closing down or opening such units.

According to legal sources, quoted by Mediafax, the case also involves two officers of the Romanian Intelligence Agency’s (SRI) Brasov branch, Alexandru Musat and Bogdan Breja. The two were the ones who brought the money to Spataru. A spokesperson for SRI Bucharest, Sorin Sava, confirmed the two officers’ involvement in the corruption case. “It’s true. What I can say is that the Romanian Intelligence Agency knew about this and collaborated with the DNA (National Anticorruption Directorate) and granted information and technical support,” Sava said, adding that the two officers involved were ordered to retire.

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