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February 26, 2021

Extensive DNA investigation at the top of Romanian Lottery

The managers are questioned by prosecutors over procurement contracts that caused the company hundreds of millions of  Euros in damages.

National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors have started an extensive investigation into the procurement contracts signed by the National Lottery’s managers, contracts that caused the company hundreds of millions of Euros in damages. In order to do that they have summoned a part of the company directors at the DNA, the rest of those responsible set to follow suit this week, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily informs. Liliana Minca, the head of the Lottery in 2006-2009, was among the first summoned at the DNA. According to EVZ sources, for the time being she is not charged in any case. Nevertheless, Minca allegedly gave prosecutors a lot of information. EVZ sources state that she brought before investigators a lot of dossiers and contracts, offering important details about them. “Yes, I gave investigators precious information. I hope next week when the other directors are brought in for hearings they won’t leave, I hope they will arrest them directly,” Liliana Minca stated for evz.ro.

According to Minca, Nicolae Cristea, former head of the Lottery from the Revolution until 2006, will be summoned next, then Gheorghe Benea, head of the Lottery in 2009-2012. The two are asked to explain the clauses of the contract signed with Greece’s INTRALOT, a contract that clearly put the Romanian state, the company’s sole owner, at a disadvantage, a fact proven by all audit reports authored by the Court of Accounts inspectors. Cristea is responsible for the signing of the first contract with the Greeks, the contract for the 1993-2003 period, and for the second contract signed in 2003. The last INTRALOT contract is set to expire this year. Benea is accused of negotiating with the Greeks a 10-year extension of these contracts.

The contracts that Cristea signed with Greece’s INTRALOT are damaging for the Romanian state because their clauses state that the Greeks will receive 80 per cent of the revenues in exchange for electronic equipment. The Greeks proposed to Benea that they should receive 67.5 per cent of the Lottery’s gross revenue, a proposal that did not make it into the contract.

Prosecuted by the DNA, placed at helm of the Lottery

The man accused by the Court of Accounts of signing the most damaging procurement contracts with the Romanian Lottery was placed at the head of the Lottery’s Commercial Directorate last Friday. Ovidiu Ripanu, the Lottery’s former head of the Procurement Service from April 2009 to April 2012, is considered by the Court of Accounts the main culprit for the contract for Pelegrin cards, a contract that caused damages of over EUR 6 M. For these contracts Ripanu is currently prosecuted by DNA prosecutors in several cases. According to evz.ro sources, he has already been summoned by DNA prosecutors to explain his actions.

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