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July 3, 2022

Anticorruption authority places businessman Urdareanu, Iasi mayor Nichita under arrest over bribe suspicions

The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) announced that president of the UTI Group of companies Tiberiu Urdareanu (photo) and Iasi mayor Gheorghe Nichita were taken into custody on Thursday evening and will be referred on Friday to the Bucharest Tribunal with the proposal to be placed under a 30-day pre-trial arrest.

In the same case, the prosecutors ordered a 60-day bail supervision for Iulius Gabriel Mardarasevici, director of SC Information Business Consulting SRL (IBC), for bribe offering.

“Mardarasevici shall have to pay 50,000 lei in bail, to be assigned on his behalf at the DNA, or shall create real, movable or immovable collaterals worth 50,000 lei in favor of DNA,” informs a release posted on the institution’s website on Thursday evening.

The DNA also ordered 60-day court supervision for UTI group vice-president Mihail Tanasescu, for bribe offering.

“In August 2013, as the EU-financed project called ‘Traffic management system in the municipality of Iasi’ was being implemented to the aim of streamlining vehicle and pedestrian traffic, as well as to decreasing pollution, city mayor Gheorghe Nichita claimed and received from the other defendants various undue benefits in exchange for his approving the winning of the contract by the UTI – IBC association, and the signing of the respective contract worth 69,614,309 lei (VAT excluded), as well as for ensuring the smooth unfolding of the contract,” the DNA said.

The prosecutors argue that the deal was based on a previous agreement among Nichita, Mardarasevici and Urdareanu, who took illegal steps – with the support of Tanasescu and another person – to collect the money to be offered as bribe.

“The steps consisted of the issue and settlement of invoices for works and services that had actually not been delivered, in the amount equivalent to the sum offered periodically as bribe to the mayor of Iasi,” argue the investigators.

The DNA mentions that so far Nichita received: a certain percentage of the total amount of the awarded contract; benefits consisting of 30 – 40 percent discounts (worth a total of about 15,100 lei) for accommodation at a Bucharest luxury hotel between 2013 – 2015; the coverage in 2014 of accommodation during a visit he and other City Hall staff and Mardarasevici paid to China; benefits consisting of 20,000 lei worth of electronic equipment bought between January – February 2014.

From the evidence produced in the case it results that the amount of 6.9 million lei representing 10 percent of the value of the works contract was to be shared among the UTI and IBC associates proportionally to their share to the contract, that is 80 percent was UTI’s contribution and 20 percent was IBC’s contribution to the bribe offered to mayor Nichita, the prosecutors said.

Other persons are also being probed in the same case.

After his arrest, Tiberiu Urdareanu told media he does not comment on the charges, while George Nichita professes his innocence.

The two were put into the arrest of the Bucharest Police.

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