French national Bruno Roche, a former CEO of the Apa Nova Bucharest water utility, has been placed under a 60-day court supervision by prosecutors with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Ploiesti for influence purchasing in 2008-2014.
The DNA reports in a press statement that in 2008-2014, defendant Bruno Roche, in his capacity as administrator of Apa Nova SA Bucharest and CEO of the same company, remitted significant amounts of money to businessman Ovidiu Semenescu, also a defendant in the same case, under a prior agreement. The remittances would be disguised as contracts with companies owned or controlled by Semenescu, businessman Vlad Moisescu or Costin Berevoianu, a personal adviser to former embattled Bucharest General Mayor Sorin Oprescu.
Prosecutors allege that the services included in the contracts were never provided because the documents related to them were drawn up in order to provide a semblance of legality to justify the remittances.
“For the money won as described above, defendant Semenescu Ovidiu-Traian personally or via other persons intervened with officials of public institutions of Romania to the benefit of the business operators of the business group that included Apa Nova SA. Most of the payments related to the contracts were authorised by defendant Roche Bruno-Daniel-Paul, as CEO of Apa Nova, and they were partially performed from a bank account exclusively at the disposal of the decision makers,” DNA says.
It adds that the money thus paid was in fact the price for the influence and interventions of Semenescu, Moisescu and Berevoianu with public institutions in favour of Apa Nova SA Bucharest and its parent group of companies.
The three allegedly unduly exercised their influence, especially with Bucharest District 1 Local Council and City Hall, the Bucharest General Mayoralty and the General Council of Bucharest City.
Bruno Roche was heard by DNA Ploiesti prosecutors for nearly five hours. The hearings were conducted in French, in the presence of an interpreter.
Roche is banned from leaving Romania for the time he is under court supervision without the approval of the prosecutor or get close to the persons implicated in the case, Semenescu Moisescu and Berevoianu, as well as witnesses already heard in the same case.
The prosecutors also informed lawyer to suspect Laurent Lalague, a CEO of Apa Nova SA in September 2013 – June 2015, that they will continue to prosecute Lalague for influence buying.
Lalague was summoned on Tuesday, but he failed to show up. According to some sources, his lawyers said he has left the country.