Romanian division of France's Veolia being investigated for tax evasion, money laundering and bribery

By bne IntelliNews November 2, 2015

Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has started investigations into Apa Nova, the water utilities supplier controlled by France's Veolia, DNA reported in a note on October 30.

Prosecutors are investigating the company for tax evasion, money laundering, bribe taking, the purchase of influence and illegal interceptions of private communication, according to the release. The damages caused to the state through tax evasion is estimated at €5.5mn, while the damages from money laundering is valued at €17.3mn.

DNA had already started investigations into two French citizens who were head managers at the company: Bruno Roche (2008-2013) and Laurent Lalague (2013-2015), as well as Veolia’s unofficial representative Ovidiu Semenescu and Romanian politician Vlad Moisescu.

DNA said on September 24 that Semenescu had been arrested. He is believed to have been the "informal representative" of the French group in Romania, along with other firms active in the country. Semenescu is suspected of having bribed Romanian officials in order to raise utility fees charged by the group’s subsidiaries in Bucharest and Ploiesti. In exchange, Apa Nova paid money to firms indirectly controlled by Moisescu and Costin Berevoianu. 

Two Romanian public servants, Berevoianu and Moisescu, who allegedly intermediated the bribes, have also been detained. Moisescu has already been arrested in connection to other corruption allegations, while Berevoianu was the head of the Bucharest water and sewage utilities company (later renamed Apa Nova) when the municipality signed the concession contract with Veolia in 2000.

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