Romanian deputy central bank governor to resign over corruption allegations

By bne IntelliNews July 31, 2016

Central bank vice-governor Bogdan Olteanu, formerly head of the Chamber of Deputies, has said he will resign from his post after a court placed him under surveillance on the request of the National Anticorruption Directorate on July 29.

The central bank said in a note published on July 29 that its activity is not hampered as Olteanu's duties will be re-assigned. The actions being investigated by DNA have no connection with Olteanu's activities at the central bank, the monetary authority stressed.

Olteanu rejected prosecutors’ claims that he had asked for and received a €1mn bribe and media support in the electoral campaign for his Liberal Party (PNL) in 2008, when he was serving as the head of the Chamber of Deputies.

The DNA said in a note that there is evidence proving that Olteanu received €1mn plus marketing and consultancy services for the electoral campaign from a businessman between July and November 2008. In exchange, Olteanu was required to appoint journalist and NGO activist Liviu Mihaiu as the head of the Danube Delta nature reserve. The appointment was made by the prime minister at that time, now Romania’s Senate speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Unofficial sorces quoted by news.ro claim that Olteanu received €2mn, out of which he paid €1mn to Tariceanu.

Olteanu admitted that he met Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, the businessman supposed to have paid the bribe, and discussed the nomination. However, he said no bribe was paid. Tariceanu has also denied any involvement in the deal.

In a separate case, Tariceanu is accused by DNA of making false statements aimed at covering up frauds. The DNA has indicted Tariceanu for perjury and for facilitating the perpetrators in a large-scale corruption case, the DNA announced in a note on July 7.

Tariceanu was an influential member of the PNL until 2014, when the party ended its alliance with the left-wing Social Democratic Party (PSD). Since then, he has set up his own party, of liberal orientation.

Mihaiu was appointed head of the nature reserve in September 2008 and was dismissed in February 2009, after Tariceanu lost his position as prime minister.

Adevarul daily confirmed that Vantu was transferred from prison, where he is serving a sentence, to the DNA office on July 28. Unofficial sources told the daily that Vantu has confirmed once again the involvement of the two Romanian politicians in the case.

Tariceanu has denied his involvement and refused to comment on the rumours. He claimed that his party, the Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Romania (ALDE) is the target of the prosecutors’ accusations. Tariceanu has repeatedly criticised DNA prosecutors for “abuses”.

Mihaiu claims that he was not aware of any involvement in his appointment as head of the nature reserve. He also stated that he was not asked for any favour by Vantu while serving as head of the nature reserve.

Vantu holds three hotels in the Danube Delta as well as a specialised fuel supply company operating in the region. PSV Company, owned by Vantu in partnership with Liviu Luca (formerly head of OMV Petrom trade unions), received an environmental permit for delivering fuel to boats in the Danube Delta in September 2008 immediately after Mihaiu’s appointment, Adevarul daily commented.

Adevarul daily cites a recording of Vantu, who complained to one of his employees that former President Traian Basescu had not observed the agreement to keep Mihaiu in his position after the parliamentary elections at the end of 2008.

 

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