My country is experiencing another massive wave of protests. This is time it is the diaspora that came home to express their frustration with the current occupiers of our Parliament. It is the same diaspora that helped put our current president into office back in 2014, with high hopes. Yet the “thieves” (hoții in Romanian, the slogan of the protests) in the Parliament have been working diligently for the past year to create a plethora of contorted laws that will make it next to impossible to make them pay for the suffering they have caused. Yesterday’s (and today’s, and the past year’s..) protests are the crying out loud of a generation. An entire generation that was let down by its country and forced to live in exile, often on the brink of Europe’s luckier countries. Millennials, my generation.
I was born in Romania in 1988, just as our communist dictator (Ceaușescu or Conducătorul – the leader/”driver” as we used to call him back then) was about to fall. Likewise, I am a proper kid of the nineties, a lawless, but mostly cloudless transition period, where suddenly an entire country was up for grabs and everyone was hustling the way they could. Even though you would call me “middle-class” today, back then when I was born, we didn’t have classes. Everyone was equally poor, or rich, it depends on how do you look at it. Everyone had nothing/everything. In the small mountain town of Miercurea Ciuc/Csíkszereda (oh yeah, did I tell, you? I’m also one of the 1.3 million special snowflakes, who make up the Hungarian ethnic minority of the country – often not really an advantage in Conducătorul’s Romania), we all wore the same patched clothes to school and played with the same old toys that our fathers fabricated in corrugated iron garages or water-filled basements of the ‘hood.
On the Christmas of 1989, our newlywed parents took to the streets of Timișoara/Temesvár, after great dis-contempt and decade-long famine, ready to topple the dictator: much like my generation did yesterday and countless times in the past year. We learned about that in school as Revoluția din Decembrie / the December revolution. While there are loads of streets in many cities across country bearing the name of this “glorious” event (including the one I grew up on), almost 30 years on, we are aching to see that their struggle (and for some, their blood, or even life..) was in vain, the revolution has failed, and Conducătorul’s spirit (ghost?!) very much lingers on. In order to understand what I am about to tell you, we need to go back in time a bit and delve into the (recent) political history of my country. Now, bear in mind that I am no political scientist, or sociologist, these are just the reflections of the past in my relatively simple but 7-year emigrant, blogger mind.
Throughout much of the 90s, me and my friends, we didn’t really worry too much about politics and were happy that our holidays kept getting longer due to the teachers’ almost ritually recurring strike action. To put things in perspective, a Romanian high-school teacher’s base salary in 2002 was $35 US dollars – so things did not really change much economically up until the turn of the millennium. Just as I was slowly starting to act smart and pretend to understand how people think and how things work (and try to use that to improve my rather limited success with the ladies..), I remember accompanying my dad into the voting booth, where he allowed me to feel important and put the stamp onto the ballot, next to a certain Ion Iliescu, the country’s long-standing president (except a short, but later much reminisced, stint by Emil Constantinescu). This gentleman was the first elected president of the newly democratized country, and no matter how hard he tried to hide it, he was still very much from the entourage of the dictator.
While it is important to mention that it is difficult to bin the Romanian political scene into traditional left or right parties (and representatives and senators often switch sides regardless of party ideology), the 2000 presidential vote was a lesser of two evils one, in order to avoid far-right xenophobic populist Corneliu Vadim Tudor gaining power. In the same year, an astute sailor and as-later-to-be-found-out, extremely resilient politician, Traian Băsescu took the mayor’s seat in the country’s capital, Bucharest. With a pledge to go head-on-head with corruption and really finish the revolution, he managed to graduate from the mayor’s seat to presidency just 4 years later, winning in the run-off with only 1.5% against Iliescu disciple and incumbent prime-minister, Adrian Năstase. It was around this time when four things started to crystallize:
- The semi-presidential republic‘s subsequent presidents entered into a perennial war with the prime-minister, spending vast amounts of time and effort on useless blocking of each other;
- Two major parties started to emerge: PSD, the social democrats’ party (the communist inheritance crew) and Everyone Else (various liberal and democratic parties, under dozens of names, but always being the different, “non-PSD” voice – on paper, at least..);
- My generation slowly turned 18, so we suddenly got the right to vote! .. and after that started getting degrees and slowly flocked away from the country;
- Albeit for fundamentally different reasons, the situation was pretty similar for the folks with no (desire to get) degrees.
Once in Cotroceni, Băsescu, possibly mimicking Putin’s model, tried to confer as much power to the president as possible. Then prime-ministers, of course did everything to prevent it – they impeached him twice, once before and once after his 2009 re-election. However, the general atmosphere in the country, as we were finishing high-school and partying through college, was a perceived good one. The rampant inflation of the 90s was stabilized, and after a decade of stagnation and even decrease, incomes started to rise and we finally entered the EU in 2007. Then hit the global financial crisis in 2008. These two events changed everything..
With the EU, came freedom of movement. First it was the rroma, but then also others started to look for better lives in Western European countries. Most of these countries (including UK, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, France) tried to protect themselves as long as they could from the Romanian and Bulgarian migration, by invoking the special clause of the accession treaty to delay their right to work until 2014, but Italy and Spain – the major linguistic relatives and thus prime destination countries – were more lenient (Spain – 2009, Italy – 2012). As a result, the country’s population shrank by more than 10%, from a Ceaușescu-era peak of 23 million to sub 20 million in 2011 – and even these official figures did not count for a lot of citizens effectively living abroad, with no signs of the trend slowing down. And of course, it was mostly the young leaving, preparing the scene for perhaps one of the worst demographic disasters of 21st century Europe. The rise of cheap air travel in the late 2000s only amplified everything. The 2008 global financial crisis arrived a bit late to my country, but this did not help the statistic. Job vacancies doubled, but employment did not change much. International capital was very much preferring neighboring Hungary and the reasons became increasingly clear with time: corruption.
Remember when we said that after 2005 the country’s president and prime minister didn’t really get along? Well, that’s because everyone had their shady deals going on: from the president through the prime-minister, to the country’s wealthiest man. During Băsescu’s “reign”, the anti-corruption efforts did intensify, though. DNA, the national anti-corruption agency was created and vested with some pretty exclusive rights – and was the flag-bearer in the fight against corruption until.. well, until the current government, after an arduous fight, managed to remove its leader, Laura Codruța Kövesi – let’s not jump ahead too much, but perhaps this gives you a clue about some of the reasons for yesterday’s outrage and the level of rottenness in the ruling party..
But be no fool, Băsescu was no angel. After communism collapsed in 1989, he became transport minister in the new centrist government, spearheading the privatization of Romania’s vast but rusting commercial fleet – and making a good buck in the process. Already during his first term in office, Băsescu started the process of opening of Securitate (sort of the Romanian CIA from communist times) records when he ordered the secret services to transfer their files to the National Council for Studying Securitate Archives. Researchers of the country’s communist-era secret police cleared the president in of accusations that he collaborated with the Securitate. With time though, it became increasingly open that the president was restoring the feared outfit’s role in order to keep him in office as long as possible, as the rift with the parliament was widening. Briefly, he appointed the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE – one of the Securitate’s inherited institutions), Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu as prime-minister in 2012.
However, it was during this time when a young and ruthless businessman from Teleorman, Liviu Dragnea started aspiring to enter the big-league politics – and sent the country into the downward spiral that it is in ever since. He entered the political scene as one of the many forcing Năstase to resign as PSD party head, only to be elbowed away from the party leadership by career politician, ambassador to the US and presidential-aspiree Mircea Geoană between 2005 and 2010, then again by prime-minister Victor Ponta between 2010 and 2015, but eventually he got the seat for himself in 2015 (after an all-out political war with the latter).
Young politician Ponta – dubbed Mickey Mouse by the Romanian public, however, did not fall too far from Conducătorul either. An upcoming Bucharest lawyer and PSD protégé under the wings of Iliescu and Năstase, he became one of the central figures of the second decade of the 21st century in Romanian politics, constantly wrestling president Băsescu and being involved in countless corruption scandals, including one for plagiarizing his doctorate, and after refusing to resign many times, eventually he did so in 2015.
Even though he did not complete his 4-year term, he was the last prime minister to stay in office consistently (3 years). It was around this time when the people of the country started connecting the dots around all of the PSD elite, and the since-regular protests started in Piața Victoriei, sparked by a deadly nighclub fire at Colectiv, claiming 64 lives. Eventually this lead to Ponta’s resignation in 2015. The problem is, we’ve already went through 6 prime-ministers since, just in the past 3 years..
In 2014, Ponta wanted to become president. Leading an ethno-populist campaign, he was in the lead until the last minute, but eventually the current president Klaus Iohannis came out on top, mostly due to the diaspora vote. I had published an ample analysis of the election itself on this very blog the day after the election.
The victory of ethnic german Iohannis was met with high expectations, with the working class being upset over the countless corruption scandals of Mr. Ponta and the wider PSD crew. However, after a brief technocrat government led by Dacian Cioloș and characterized by a strong DNA, opening many cases against key PSD figures, the parliament was eventually subdued to PSD control at the end of 2016, this time with Dragnea at the wheel. What we are witnessing ever since is perhaps an unheard of violation in Europe of a state’s Constitution and a complete making fun of its citizenry. Already the parliamentary election itself was clouded in controversy, with Dragnea convicted for electoral fraud in the 2012 impeachment campaign against Băsescu. Because of his two-year suspended sentence, Dragnea couldn’t be nominated as prime-minister (technically he can?!, but president Iohannis said he wouldn’t do so) – therefore the country has been in an endless loop of Dragnea-strawmen (and straw-women) taking the prime-minister’s seat ever since, with the boss himself staying in office as the president of PSD and the de-facto leader of the country no matter what comes at him. Just a sample form his laws since:
- Viciously attacked and eventually forced the president to sack anti-corruption agency head and widely regarded national justice hero Laura Codruța Kövesi;
- Changed the definition of corruption;
- Decriminalized graft offenses, leading to widespread protests instantly;
- Raised the level above which bribery factualizes, leading to widespread protests instantly;
- Changed the penal code to possibly avoid yet another corruption sentence of 3.5 years, while staying in office;
- Intends to change money laundering laws;
- Fun fact #1: our deputy prime minister faked a photo with Obama;
- Fun fact #2: last week the government cut €30M from the (already by far lowest in Europe) academic research budget and gave it to the Romanian Orthodox Church (a solid votes-bringer) to finish its ivory tower mega-cathedral.
President Iohannis does try from time to time to publicly condemn the Dragnea regime, but he is also powerless himself. Meanwhile, the resounding atmosphere in the country is that it started going down a slope from where there is no return. There is practically no opposition anymore and people feel being left desolate. So they started protesting. First simply for the rule of law. Then against widespread corruption. And finally, left hopeless, against the government. This latter episode has been going on for almost two years and people are pretty much left in total desperation, where they have lost complete faith in all of the political establishment. Bringing back old and cold memories and feeling as if fighting windmills, Conducătorul’s seemingly immortal ghost still haunts after three decades..
We are the country’s lost generation. Some of the smartest on the planet, scattered all across leading companies and universities of the world, leaving our country behind and being left behind by our country, in favor of old, credulous voters brought for PSD by the Orthodox Church and a stick and carrot rise in pensions – only to raise taxes a month later to fund the gap – and effectively ending up lowering them, but keeping it low profile and murky so people won’t find out. Once (2017) the fastest growing economy in Europe:
- ROMANIA: the worst predicted economic performance in Europe in 2018
- ROMANIA: lowest status of professors in society within Europe in 2018
- ROMANIA: one of the worst quality of infrastructures in Europe in 2018
- ROMANIA: lowest number of consistent internet users per capita in Europe in 2017
- ROMANIA: lowest purchasing power in Europe in 2013
- ROMANIA: the least innovative country in Europe in 2018
- ROMANIA: last in financial education in Europe in 2018
By now, my generation has had enough. It does not matter whether we live abroad or at home. Oh and believe me, many of us would and will return, if there is stability and a perspective for the future. But currently, ANYONE involved in the past thirty years in ANY government will not do – and fairly so. There are just too many bad memories. Therefore we need to help grow an entirely new political class, lead by reason and excellence, and get rid of the red plague (“ciuma roșie”). With the current system, this seams like an unsurmountable ordeal, fighting the windmill fight of many countries against populist governments, but Romania’s case is so very special: as the aging population back at home starts to not have any funds to pay the pensions from, while all of the youth is looking for their luck elsewhere. When all of the state budget is embezzled, then what? What happens to our parents and grandparents?.. But fear not, talking with my friends scattered across the world, as well as back home, I know that change is coming. People will return. I remember, there was a good trend. 4 years ago, when Iohannis was elected, people really started to believe that this is it, we have broken free from the shackles of communism. Disappointed with their substandard, friendless Western European lives , they have already started returning nicely. Jobs were on the rise, regional centers such as Cluj-Napoca/Kolozsvár, Timișoara/Temesvár or Iași were booming. Until 2017, when this government came to power.. But now we must hold on (#rezist) as I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep signing the petitions, keep sharing the videos, keep going to Victoriei to stand united peacefully and stream it live. Dragnea and folks are getting more and more scared by the day: at yesterday’s protests they have instructed the riot police to use force against the peaceful protesters. I can’t help but to think about a similar situation in 2006’s Hungary, when the local PSD counterpart, MSZP did exactly the same. People have had so enough of them, that 12 years down the line, they have unapologetically lost the last 3 elections and have no realistic chance of doing otherwise in the next decade. And the population of Hungary is quite happy about that, re-electing their oft-criticized government year on year. Just last week, there was a much-publicized decision by BMW to build a billion-euro factory in Debrecen, just across the border from Romania, and our minister of transport said he was “frustrated” by the news. No shit..
My country in arguably the most beautiful place on earth with the kindest, calmest and most loving people. Communism will eventually fall and the diaspora will return home.
One day. One fine day : )
Finally, to close with some food for thought, I’ve created a montage of a few snapshots of the social media atmosphere of yesterday’s protests, side by side with the list of politicians involved in corruption scandals: there are almost no exceptions, all members of the Parliament, all county leaders, all mayors have some case or another opened against them. Therefore it is so important to understand that these protests are not just protests. And they aren’t the seeds of a new revolution either. They are a continued demand for a promised, clean, democratic state that never came.
The 1989 revolution is not over yet. It is just starting..
Try Something New. Everyday.
Investigations resulting in convictions, appeal under way
|People involved (office held/occupation)||Date||Details||Conviction date|
|Gheorghe Costin(Member of Parliament; Deputy Mayor of Beiuș)||2008||Convicted for fraud, false declarations and abuse of power. He provided preferential treatment in tenders for the company, Top Construct Group, whilst he was Deputy Mayor of Beiuș. Furthermore, he signed off on payments towards the company for false activities and works.||7 May 2015|
|Dumitru Dragomir (former chairman of the Professional Football League)||2009–2014||Dumitru Dragomir was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for tax evasion, embezzlement and money laundering.||23 June 2016|
|Nicușor Constantinescu (former chairman of Constanța County Council)||Sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for authorizing illegal payments in his role as chairman of the Constanța County Council, causing damages amounting to over 30 million lei (€6,725,000) to the Council and over 1 million lei (€224,000) to the Romanian state.||29 July 2016|
|Liviu Dragnea (President of the Chamber of Deputies, President of Social Democratic Party)||2006–2013||Sentenced to 3 and a half years imprisonment for instigating to abuse of power.||21 June 2018|
|Gergely Olosz(Senator, former President of the Regulatory Authority for Energy)||2010–2011||Sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for influence-peddling||3 March 2016|
|Radu Mazăre (former mayor of Constanța)||2004||Sentenced to 6 and a half years imprisonment for abuse of power in a case related to a sale of a 15,000 sqm-plot of land in the Mamaia resort.||16 May 2018|
|Ilie Carabulea(Wealthy businessman; founder and former CEO of Banca Comercială Carpatica)||2012–2013||Sentenced to 6 and a half years imprisonment for bribery||8 March 2016|
|Constantin Nicolescu(former chairman of Argeș County Council)||2009||Sentenced to 8 years in prison for bribery.||5 May 2017|
|Nicușor Constantinescu (former chairman of Constanța County Council)||2008–2011||Sentenced to six years imprisonment for abuse of power in a case related to not issuing or extending permits for wind farms||27 June 2016|
|Gabriel Popoviciu(Businessman) Ioan Niculae Alecu (former rector of the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest) Ilie Cornel Şerban (former Director of the General Directorate for Intelligence and Internal Security) Petru Daniel Pitcovici (former chief of the Operations Division of the Anti-Corruption General Directorate)||2000–2004||The main charge of this corruption scandal is related to the sale of 224 hectares of land belonging to the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (UASVM) at an undervalued price. Gabriel Popoviciu (a.k.a. Puiu Popoviciu) was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment, Ioan Niculae Alecu (the former rector of the UASVM) – to 6 years imprisonment, Ilie Cornel Şerban – to 2 years and a half imprisonment, Petru Daniel Pitcovici – to 2 years imprisonment.||23 June 2016|
Investigations resulting in final sentences
|People involved (office held/occupation)||Date||Details||Conviction date|
|Dan Șova (former senator and minister in several Ponta cabinets)||2011–2014||Sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and €100,000 forfeiture for influence peddling.||20 June 2018|
|Elena Udrea (former Minister of Regional Development and Tourism in all Boc cabinets)||2011||Sentenced to 6 years imprisonment and to an asset forfeiture of €2.6 million for bribery and abuse of power in the “Bute Gala” case||5 June 2018|
|Alina Bica (Former Chief Prosecutor of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT))||2014||Convicted for the crime of favouring the offender, whereby Alina Bica accepted a bribe from a local businessman, Horia Simu, in order to shelf a pending case against him. Sentenced to 3 and a half years imprisonment. Horia Simu received 4 years imprisonment, whilst the intermediary, former Tax Authority Chief Şerban Pop, received 5 years imprisonment.||26 January 2017|
|Adrian Severin (Member of the European Parliament (MEP))||2010-2011||Convicted for bribery and influence-peddling in the 2011 cash for influence scandal. Sentenced to 4 years imprisonment.||16 November 2016|
Gabriel Sandu (Minister of Communications between 2008 and 2010)
Gheorghe Ștefan (former Mayor of Piatra Neamț)
Nicolae Dumitru (ro) (Businessman)
|2008–2010||Microsoft licensing corruption scandal: Dorin Cocoș, businessman and former spouse of Elena Udrea, was sentenced to 2 years 4 months imprisonment (in March 2016 sentenced to 2 years imprisonment) for influence peddling and money laundering, and to an asset forfeiture of €9 million (previously to €3 million). Gabriel Sandu was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment (previously to 2 years imprisonment) for bribery and money laundering, and to an asset forfeiture of over €2 million. Gheorghe Ștefan was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment (previously 3 years imprisonment) for influence peddling and to an asset forfeiture of over €3 million. Nicolae Dumitru was convicted to 2 years 4 months imprisonment (previously 1 and a half years suspended sentence), $2,050,000 and €1 million forfeiture (previously €1 million forfeiture and 90 days community service).||3 October 2016|
|Nicușor Constantinescu(former chairman of the Constanța County Council)||2009–2013||Sentenced to five years imprisonment (before the appeal to 3 and a half years) for abuse of power in a case related to the underfunding of the Zonal Military Center in Constanța||29 June 2016|
|Mircea Băsescu(Businessman)||2011–2016||Sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for influence-peddling by taking bribes from a Roma clan in return for promising to secure the early release of the clan’s convicted boss, Sandu Anghel aka Bercea Mondialu’. Mircea Băsescu is the younger brother of Traian Băsescu, the former president of Romania, as well as the godfather of Sandu Anghel’s granddaughter.||16 June 2016|
|Veronica Cîrstoiu (Judge at the Bucharest Court of Appeal)||2012||Convicted for receiving a bribe of approximately €630,000 and using her influence to reach a favourable judgement for a defendant in a criminal case. Sentenced to 7 years imprisonment||2 June 2016|
|Liviu Dragnea (Member of Parliament; Leader of the Social Democratic Party; former Deputy Prime-Minister)||2012||Convicted for using his political influence to mastermind a campaign in swinging a referendum (impeachment) vote against former president Traian Băsescu in 2012, through the use of bribes and forged ballot papers. He was handed a suspended sentence of 2 years.||22 April 2016|
|Gheorghe Hânsă (Mayor of Cernavodă)||2005–2008||Sentenced to 3 years 8 months for official misconduct by concluding contracts detrimental to the town’s finances. His son, Tiberiu Marius Hânsă, was sentenced to 3 years 2 months for complicity in the crime perpetrated by his father.||13 April 2016|
|Florin Aurelian Popescu (Member of Parliament, former President of the Dâmbovița County Council)||2012||Sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for official misconduct. Using his position as leader of the local Democratic Liberal Party organization and President of the Dâmbovița County Council, Florin Popescu requested a local entrepreneur that 60,992 kilos grilled chicken be delivered to him. Subsequently Florin Popescu distributed the chicken to the potential voters during the electoral campaign for the 2012 local elections.||14 March 2016|
|Alin Trășculescu(Member of Parliament)||2010–2012||Sentenced to 3 years in prison for influence-peddling, instigation to money laundering, embezzlement and forgery.||4 March 2016|
|Constantin Boșcodeală (Mayor of Buzău)||2002–2008||Sentenced to 3 years probation for official misconduct and banned from running for the mayor office for 5 years||1 March 2016|
|Codruț Șereș (Minister of Economy)||2002-2004||Sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for embezzlement of funds belonging to the Hidroelectricacompany||29 February 2016|
|Gruia Stoica(Founder and President of the Grampet Group; CEO of Grup Feroviar Român, the largest private rail cargo company in Romania)||2013||Sentenced to 2 and a half years probation and 90 days community service for influence buying||23 February 2016|
|Marian Neacșu(Member of Parliament, Secretary-General of the Social Democratic Party)||2009||Sentenced to 6 months probation for conflict of interest after illegally hiring his own daughter at his MP office||23 February 2016|
|Marian Ghiveciu(Member of Parliament)||2005-2006||Sentenced to 3 years probation for instigation to official misconduct in a case related to illegal retrocession of land plots in the Merei commune, Buzău County.||23 February 2016|
|Adrian Grăjdan (Head of the State Inspectorate for Constructions (ISC))||2012||Convicted for the crime of favouring the perpetrator (obstruction of justice) when four days after he was appointed Head of the ISC, he withdrew all the graft claims of the ISC against convicted former prime minister Năstase, despite the fact that the ISC suffered damages amounting to €1.5 million.Sentenced to 3 and a half years probation.||22 February 2016|
|Nicolae Matei (Mayor of Năvodari)||2012||Convicted for attempting to bribe a high-ranking policeman with two plots of land in Năvodari valued at €46,160, in return for shielding Nicolae Matei from a criminal investigation by influencing the evidence against him. Sentenced to 1 and a half years imprisonment.||19 February 2016|
|Ioan Stan (Member of Parliament)||2012||Convicted for requesting a 130,000 lei (€31,000) bribe in return for influence-peddling. He received 60,000 lei (€14,300) in three installments that he partially used for election campaigning. Additionally, he indirectly received products for his election campaign with a value of 535,000 lei (€127,400).Sentenced to 2 years imprisonment.||25 January 2016|
|Mihai Toader (CEO of Romanian Post)||2008||Sentenced to 8 and a half years in prison for acquiring software products from a Cyprus-based company at a price overvalued by 12 times. The damage is estimated at €6.5 million.||15 October 2015|
|Cristian Poteraș(Mayor of Sector 6 (Bucharest))||2006||Sentenced to 8 years in prison for abuse of office in a case related to illegal retrocession of lands in Romania’s capital.||22 May 2015|
|Ioan Niculae (Richest man in Romania in April 2014, according to Forbes)||2009||Sentenced to two years and a half imprisonment for illegally financing the Social Democratic Party’spresidential campaign in 2009.||2 April 2015|
|Monica Iacob Ridzi (Minister of Youth and Sport)||2009||Sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling money that was spent by the Ministry on the Youth Day festivities||16 February 2015|
|Miron Mitrea (Member of Parliament)||2001-2002||Sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for receiving a €300,000 bribe in exchange for keeping Irina Jianu as chief-inspector of the State Inspectorate for Constructions.||13 February 2015|
|Constantin Nicolescu(Senator; former chairman of the Argeș County Council) Gheorghe Nicuț (Mayor of Curtea de Argeș) Andrei Călin Ioan (Mayor of Câmpulung) Ştefan Ion (Mayor of Budeasa) Ioan Popa Ioan (Mayor of Stâlpeni)||2006-2008||Convicted for using false documents to contract financing of €900,000 from European funds that should have been used to revamp four schools. Revamping work was carried out by a company called Zeus SA. Nicolescu was also convicted for having taken a €60,000 bribe from businessman Cornel Penescu and sentenced to 7 years in prison.||5 February 2015|
|George Copos (Wealthy businessman; Member of Parliament; Deputy Prime-Minister)||2004||Sentenced for 4 years imprisonment for tax evasion of around $1 million that was linked to the sale of several retail spaces from his company, Ana Electronics, to the Romanian National Lottery.||25 August 2014|
|Dan Voiculescu (Senator; Founder of the Conservative Party; Wealthy businessman/Oligarch; former Securitate agent)|
Gheorghe Mencinicopschi(Director of the Food Research Institute)
|2003||Voiculescu was sentenced to 10 years in prison for using his political influence in the privatization of the Food Research Institute which had an estimated value of €7.7 million, but was instead bought by his company, Grivco at an undervalued price of €100,000. According to the prosecutors, the damages brought to the Romanian state amounted to over €60 million.||8 August 2014|
|Sorin Apostu (Mayor of Cluj-Napoca)||2009-2011||Sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison for taking a €94,000 bribe in exchange for signing contracts related to the car insurance of the City Hall’s cars and garbage trucks.||7 July 2014|
|Gabriel Boriga (Mayor of Târgoviște)||Convicted for buying playgrounds equipment from his godson’s company at a price estimated to be €100,000 higher than the market prices for that particular product. He received a 3-year suspended sentence.||23 May 2014|
|Emilian Valentin Frâncu (Mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea)||2012||Sentenced to 4 years in prison for receiving a bribe in exchange for awarding a contract for the construction of an overpass.||26 March 2014|
|Relu Fenechiu (Minister of Transportation)||2002-2004||Fenechiu sold a number of old electrical transformers to Electrica Moldova at a highly inflated price of 2.8 million €. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.||30 January 2014|
|Gheorghe Coman(Member of Parliament)||2002-2004||Sentenced to 1 year imprisonment for receiving a 3000 lei bribe (ca. 670 Euro)||30 January 2014|
|Tudor Chiuariu (Minister of Justice)|
Zsolt Nagy (Minister of Communications) Mihai Toader (General Manager of the Romanian Post)
|2005-2007||Chiuariu and Nagy illegally transferred some real estate owned by the Romanian Post to a private company. Chiuariu received a suspended sentence of 3½ years, while Nagy received a suspended sentence of 4 years.||24 January 2014|
|Sorin Andi Pandele(Member of Parliament) Costel Zamfir (Mayor of Bradu)||2007||Pandele received a 190,000 lei bribe in exchange of illegally issuing a land deed. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.||21 January 2014|
|Adrian Năstase (Prime Minister of Romania)||2001-2004||Năstase received as bribe some Chinese-made building materials and furnishings worth €630,000 from a construction entrepreneur, Irina Jianu, who, in exchange, was appointed the director of the State Construction Inspectorate. He was handed a four-year prison sentence for taking bribes and a three-year prison sentence for blackmail, to run concurrently.||6 January 2014|
|Dan Păsat(Member of Parliament)||2009-2010||Păsat was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for blackmailing mayors of Giurgiu County communes to obtained contracts for his private company, Prod Invest SRL.||12 December 2013|
|Mircia Muntean(Mayor of Deva, Member of Parliament)||1999||Muntean, as mayor, performed a land exchange with Iosif Man, through which the City Hall lost an estimated $360,000. He received a 4-year suspended sentence.||24 September 2013|
|Antonie Solomon(Mayor of Craiova)||2002-2004||Solomon received a €50,000 bribe from businessman Cornel Penescu in order to issue a building permitfor a hypermarket. Sentenced to 3 years in prison.||20 September 2013|
|Ion Dumitru(Member of Parliament; Director of Romsilva)||Dumitru acquired for Romsilva for $294,330 a Ukrainian-made 1970s bulldozer that had a value of $6,250; the equipment was never used as it was not suitable for the task it was bought. He received a 3-year suspended sentence.||7 June 2013|
|Victor Babiuc (Minister of Defence)|
Dumitru Cioflină(Chief of General Staff, Army General)
Gigi Becali (Wealthy businessman; Founder of the New Generation Party; Member of European Parliament; Member of Romanian Parliament)
|1998||A land swap through which the Romanian state lost almost $1 million. Each of the them was sentenced to 2 years in prison.||20 May 2013|
|Nicolae Mischie(President of the Gorj County Council)||Mischie received between businessman Clement Mocanu renovation services for three of his buildings, as well as bribes, in exchange for a contract for renovation of the historic building Casa Gănescu. Sentenced to 4 years in prison.||18 March 2013|
|Dorin Dăneșan (Mayor of Sighișoara)||Dăneșan signed a lease contract given by the City Hall to a company owned by the mayor’s brother. He was handed a 2-year suspended sentence.||14 March 2013|
|Adrian Năstase (Prime Minister of Romania)||2004||Using a state-funded conference as a front to raise money for his presidential campaign. Sentenced to 2 years in prison.||20 June 2012|
|Gheorghe Medințu(Vice-President of PSD Arad)||Medințu was involved in a scandal involving the bribing of Ilie Stana in order to illegally obtain loans worth 2000 billion old lei. Medințu was given a 7-year prison sentence.||23 April 2012|
|Cătălin Voicu (Senator/Member of Parliament)|
|2009||The businessmen gave bribes to Voicu in order to solve, with the help of Judge Costiniu, their commercial and penal offenses. Voicu was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.||22 April 2012|
|Virgil Pop (Member of Parliament)||Pop received bribes (30,000-€50,000) in exchange of contracts with Transelectrica Cluj. Sentenced to 5 years in prison.||18 April 2012|
|Decebal Traian Remeș (Minister of Agriculture)|
Ioan Avram Mureşan (former Minister of Agriculture)
|2007||Remeș received from businessman Gheorghe Ciorbă €15,000, an Audi Q7 and various products in exchange for winning public contracts. They were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment each.||14 February 2012|
|Eugen Bădălan(Member of Parliament, Army General, former Chief of General Staff)||2000||Signed various deals with a private company, Tofan Grup SA, causing a damage of 1.26 million € to the Army. Sentenced to 4 years probation.||7 December 2011|
|Dan Ilie Morega(Member of Parliament)||2008||Morega requested bribes from public companies for the National Liberal Party electoral campaign in exchange for preserving political support for their directors. He was given a 3-year suspended sentence.||11 November 2011|
|Cosmin Mihai Popescu (Member of Parliament)|
Ionel Manțog(director of Turceni Power Station)
|Popescu was sentenced to 2 years probation and Manțog to 5 years imprisonment for buying land that was then expropriated as eminent domain at high prices.|||11 April 2011|
|Vasile Emilian Cutean (Secretary of State for Revolutionary-related Issues)||2004||Sentenced to 5 years in prison for embezzlement of state funds, which were paid into the accounts of an association of which he was the president.||4 April 2011|
|Mihail Sirețeanu(Member of Parliament)||2003-2004||Sirețeanu defrauded the state-owned Mizil Arms Factory of 6 billion old lei and received a 2-year suspended sentence.||9 February 2011|
|Vasile Duță (Senator)||2000-2004||Duță received money and goods (including a Mercedes worth €40,000) in exchange for influencing the decisions of various state bodies and he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.||5 May 2010|
|Mircia Gutău (Mayor of Râmnicu Vâlcea)||2006||Gutău requested a bribe of €50,000 from the owner of a local company, Rovimet, in exchange for an urban planning certificate, being caught in flagrante delicto. Sentenced to 2 and a half years in prison.||17 March 2010|
|Cristian Anghel(Mayor of Baia Mare)||Anghel decided that the Baia Mare City Hall buy a building at an overvalued price (the damage being estimated at €394,500), the same building being bought for one third of the price days before that. Sentenced to 2 and half years imprisonment.||10 March 2010|
In Romanian – Dosare închise cu sentințe definitive
|Nume dosar||Persoană implicată||Perioadă||Detalii||Sentință|
|“Mită la Primărie”||Mircia Gutău (primar Râmnicu-Vâlcea)||2006||Acuzat de luare de mită; a cerut 50.000 de euro în schimbul unui certificat de urbanism și prins în flagrant delict.||27 ianuarie 2010 – 3 ani și jumătate de închisoare cu executare|
|“Horea 46”||Cristian Anghel (primar Baia-Mare)||2006||Anghel a decis ca Primăria Baia Mare să cumpere o clădire la un preț supraevaluat (daunele fiind estimate la 394.500 €).||17 martie 2010 – 2 ani și șase luni de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de trafic de influență||Vasile Duță (senator PSD)||2000-2004||Acuzat că a primit bani și bunuri (inclusiv un Mercedes ML în valoare de aproape 40.000 de euro) în schimbul intervențiilor pe lângă instituții ale statului.||5 mai 2010 – 5 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Trofeul calității”||Adrian Năstase (prim-ministru)||2004||Acuzat că și-ar fi finanțat campania electorală din 2004 din taxele plătite de firmele care s-au înscris la concursul „Trofeul Calității”, organizat, în acel an, de Inspectoratul de Stat în Construcții (ISC).||20 iunie 2012 – 2 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Strămutați de lux”||Ionel Manțog (secretar de stat în Ministerul Economiei si Comertului)||Acuzat de abuz în serviciu contra intereselor publice, cu consecințe deosebit de grave. A folosit informații ce nu sunt destinate publicității în scopul obținerii pentru sine de bani, bunuri ori alte foloase necuvenite.||9 iulie 2012 – 5 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Palincă și caltaboși“||Decebal Traian Remeș (ministru PNL al Agriculturii)|
Ioan Mureșan (ministru PNȚCD al Agriculturii)
|2007||Remeș a primit de la un om de afaceri 15.000 €, un Audi Q7 și diverse produse alimentare în schimbul câștigării contractelor publice.||25 februarie 2013 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de luare de mită||Nicolae Mischie (președinte al CJ Gorj)||2002-2003||Acuzat că a primit mită în valoare de mai multe sute de mii de euro, sub forma de mașini, mobilier, aparatură electrocasnică și lucrări de constructii, de la un om de afaceri pe care l-a ajutat să obțină contracte publice preferențiale.||18 martie 2013 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de trafic de influență||Cătălin Voicu (deputat PSD)||2009||Voicu a primit 260.000 de euro de la un om de afaceri în schimbul intervenției pe un judecător din cadrul Înaltei Curți de Casație și Justiție, în vederea adoptării unei soluții favorabile omului de afaceri.||22 aprilie 2013 – 7 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Mita de la PIC”||Antonie Solomon (primar al Craiovei)||1601||Solomon a primit o mită de 50.000 de euro de la un om de afaceri pentru a emite un permis de construcție pentru un hypermarket.||20 septembrie 2013 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de șantaj||Dan Păsat (deputat PDL)||2009-2010||A șantajat primri din Giurgiu pentru a obține contracte pentru compania sa privată, Prod Invest SRL.||12 decembrie 2013 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Bunuri din China (Zambaccian I)”||Adrian Năstase (fost prim-ministru)||2001-2004||Năstase a primit ca mită materiale de construcție și mobilier realizate în China, în valoare de 630.000 de euro, de la un antreprenor în construcții care, în schimb, a fost numit director al Inspectoratului de Stat în Construcții.||6 ianuarie 2014 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Transformatorul”||Relu Fenechiu (ministru PNL al Transporturilor)||2002-2004||Fenechiu a vândut un număr de transformatoare electrice vechi către Electrica Moldova la un preț supraevluat, 2,8 milioane de euro.||30 ianuarie 2014 – 5 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Mită la Hidroelectrica 1”||Eugen Brădean (director de trading la Hidroelectrica)||2013||Acuzat de complicitat la luare și dare de mită pentru semnarea unui contract de 4 ani între Hidroelectrica SA și societatea comercială Energon Power & Gas S.R.L. Cluj prin care Hidroelectrica vindea un număr mare de MWh energie electrică la un preț foarte mic.||31 ianuarie 2014 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Poșta Română”||Tudor Chiuariu (ministru PNL al Justiției) și Zsolt Nagy (ministru UDMR al Telecomunicațiilor)||2005-2007||Chiuariu și Nagy au transferat ilegal unele proprietăți deținute de Poșta Română către o companie privată.||24 ianuarie 2014 – 3 ani și șase luni de închisoare cu suspendare respectiv 4 ani de închisoare cu suspendare|
|“Mita la Primărie II”||Emilian Frâncu (primar al Râmnicu-Vâlcea)||2012||Acuzat de primirea mitei în schimbul acordării unui contract pentru construirea unui pasaj suprateran.||26 martie 2014 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Mita de la Cluj”||Sorin Apostu (primar PDL al Cluj-Napoca)||2009-2011||Acuzat că a luat mită 94.000 de euro în schimbul semnării contractelor legate de asigurarea parcului auto al primăriei si de salubrizare.||7 iulie 2014 – 4 ani și 6 luni de închisoare cu executare|
|“ICA”||Dan Voiculescu (senator PC)||2003||Acuzat că a folosit influența sa politică în privatizarea Institutului de Cercetare Alimentară (ICA), care avea o valoare estimată de 7,7 milioane de euro, dar a fost cumpărat de compania sa, Grivco, la un preț subevaluat de 100.000 de euro. Potrivit procurorilor, despăgubirile aduse statului român s-au ridicat la peste 60 de milioane de euro.||8 august 2014 – 10 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Loteria I”||George Copos (om de afaceri, deputat PC)||2004||Acuzat de evaziune fiscală de aproximativ 1 milion de dolari, legată de vânzarea mai multor spații comerciale de la compania sa la Loteria Națională a României.||25 august 2014 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Rompetrol”||Sorin Roșca Stănescu (senator PNL)|
Sorin Pantiș (ministru PNL al Comunicațiilor)
|2004||Acuzați de manipularea pieței și utilizare de informații privilegiate legate de Rompetrol.||7 octombrie 2014. Sorin Roșca Stănescu – 2 ani și patru luni de închisoare cu executare Sorin Pantiș – 2 ani și opt luni de închisoare cu executare.|
|Dosar pentru deturnare de fonduri||Mihai Necolaiciuc (director general al CFR)||2001-2003||Acuzat de utilizare în alte scopuri a creditelor garantate din fonduri publice. A folosit 2.754.728 de euro către 57 de societati comerciale pentru bunuri si servicii fără legatură cu proiectul pentru care primise bani de la Banca Europeană de Investiții (servicii de publicitate în presa, saci de folie, radiotelefoane HP, frigidere, echipamente aer conditionat, salopete din doc, covoare PVC, calendare si agende, etc.)||17 octombrie 2014 – 4 ani și 6 luni de închisoare cu executare.|
|“Privatizări strategice”||Codruț Sereș (ministru PC al Economiei)||2002-2004||A favorizat anumiți concurenți într-o serie de dosare de privatizare de mare importanță.||27 ianuarie 2015 – 4 ani și 8 luni de închisoare cu executare|
|“Zeus I (Bani europeni pentru scoli)”||Constantin Nicolescu (PSD, președinte CJ Argeș)||2006||Acuzat ca a luat fonduri PHARE de aproape 900.000 de euro, în baza unor documente false.||5 februarie 2015 – 7 ani si 8 luni de închisoare cu executare.|
|“Voluntari”||Miron Mitrea (senator PSD)||2001-2002||Acuzat că a primit mită de 300.000 de euro în schimbul menținerii Irinei Jianu în funcția de inspector-șef al Inspectoratului de Stat pentru Construcții.||13 februarie 2015 – 2 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“2 Mai”||Monica Iacob Ridzi (ministru PDL al Tineretului și sportului)||2009||Acuzată de deturnarea banilor cheltuiți de minister la festivitățile de Ziua Tineretului.||16 februarie 2015 – 5 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Mită la PSD”||Bunea Stancu (PSD, președintele CJ Brăila)||Bunea i-ar fi cerut 1 milion de euro omului de afaceri Ioan Niculae, pentru a susține campania electorală a lui Mircea Geoană. O parte din bani, aproximativ 150.000 de euro, ar fi fost plătiți prin casa de sondaje INSOMAR, detinută de Sorin Ovidiu Vântu.||2 aprilie 2015 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de abuz în serviciu||Cristian Poteraș (primar PNL sector 6)||2006||Acuzat că a retrocedat ilegal șase terenuri din București, cu o suprafață totală de 119.647 m2; terenurile valorau 58,2 milioane de euro la momentul respectiv.||22 mai 2015 – 8 ani de închisoare cu executare.|
|Dosar de luare de mită||Dorin Dobrișan (PSD, director CEC Râmnicu Vâlcea)||2006-2008||Acuzat de luare de mită și abuz în serviciu semnând contracte de lucrări și de prestări servicii atribuite în condiții nelegale societății SC Electrovâlcea SRL Râmnicu Vâlcea, suma totală decontată ridicându-se la peste un milion de lei. Firma a beneficiat de o linie de credit în cuantum de 5.500.000 de lei. În schimb Dobrișan a primit patru autoturisme de lux, cu o valoare estimată la 202.000 de euro.||19 octombrie 2015 – 8 ani și 8 luni de închisoare cu executare.|
|“Dosarul Transgaz”||Dinel Staicu (Președinte al SIF Oltenia)||2000–2001||Acuzat de fraudarea patrimoniului SC Transgaz SA Mediaș cu peste 11 milioane de euro.||10 iunie 2016 – 9 ani de închisoare cu executare.|
|“Fraude la Referendum”||Liviu Dragnea (lider PSD)||2012||Acuzat că pus la punct un sistem național de influență prin care ar fi fraudat votul la referendumul din 29 iulie 2012 de demitere a președintelui Traian Băsescu.||22 aprilie 2016 – 2 ani de închisoare cu suspendare.|
|Dosar de trafic de influență||Mircea Băsescu (om de afaceri)||2011–2016||Acuzat de trafic de influență prin luarea de mită de la un clan de romi, în schimbul promisiunii de a asigura eliberarea șefului condamnat al clanului, Sandu Anghel aka Bercea Mondialu. Mircea Băsescu este fratele mai mic al lui Traian Băsescu, fostul președinte al României, precum și nașul nepoatei lui Sandu Anghel.||16 iunie 2016 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Centrul Militar Zonal”||Nicușor Constantnescu (președinte al CJ Constanța)||2009–2013||Acuzat de abuz de putere într-un caz legat de subfinanțarea Centrului Militar Zonal din Constanța.||29 iunie 2016 – 5 ani de închisoare cu executare.|
|“Dosarul Microsoft”||Dorin Cocoș (om de afaceri) Gabriel Sandu (ministru PDL al Comunicațiilor) Gheorghe Ștefan (primar PDL al Piatra-Neamț)||2008–2010||Dosarul licențelor Microsoft. Dorin Cocoș, fost soț al Elenei Udrea, a fost găsit vinovat pentru trafic de influență și spălare de bani; s-a dispus confiscarea a 9.000.000 de euro. Gabriel Sandu a fost găsit vinovat de luare de mită și spălare de bani; s-a dispus confiscarea a peste 2.000.000 euro. Gheorghe Ștefan găsit vinovat de trafic de influență; s-a dispus confiscarea a peste 3.000.000 euro.||3 octombrie 2016 – Dorin Cocoș: 2 ani și 4 luni de închisoare cu executare; Gabriel Sandu: 3 ani de închisoare cu executare; Gheorghe Ștefan: 6 ani de închisoare cu executare;|
|Trafic de influență||Marius Isăilă (senator PSD)||2012-2013||A cerut mită suma de 200.000 euro unui om de afaceri pentru a bloca controlul ANAF la firma acestuia. Deoarece controlul a continuat a mai cerut 150.000 euro să intevină, apoi în 2013 a mai cerut 20.000 euro pentru a interveni pe lângă diferiți funcționari publici.||10 noiembrie 2016 – 5 ani și patru luni închisoare cu executare.|
|Dosar de luare de mită||Adrian Severin (membru PSD al Parlamentului European)||2010-2011||Acuzat de luare de mită de 100.000 euro în afacerea „bani pentru amendamente”.||16 noiembrie 2016 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|“Gala Bute”||Elena Udrea (ministru PDL al Dezvoltării Regionale și Turismului)||2010–2012||Udrea a primit bani de la reprezentanții unor societăți comerciale, pentru a le garanta plata la timp a lucrărilor finanțate de minister. De asemenea, a prejudeciat bugetul ministerului achiziționând servicii de publicitate la o gală de box profesionist.||5 iunie 2018 – 6 ani de închisoare cu executare.|
|“CET Govora”||Dan Șova (senator PSD)||2006–2008||Acuzat de complicitate la abuz în serviciu; l-a determinat pe direcetorul general al CET Govora să semneze două contracte de asistență juridică în termenii impuși de el, între CET și firma de avocați „Șova și Asociații”.||20 iunie 2018 – 3 ani de închisoare cu executare și plata către stat a sumei de 100.000 euro cu titlu de confiscare specială.|
|“Dosarul Videanu”||Alina Bica (fosta șefă DIICOT)||2013||Acuzată de favorizarea făptuitorului; în calitate de procuror șef al DIICOT, l-a ajutat pe Adriean Videanu să își pună la adăpost acțiunile pe care le avea la firma Titan Mar.||26 iunie 2018 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de trafic de influență||Constantin Niță (ministru PSD al Energiei)||2013||A solicitat unui om de afaceri un comision de 5% din valoarea unui contract încheiat de societatea comercială a acestuia cu primăria unui municipiu.||28 iunie 2018 – 4 ani de închisoare cu executare|
|Dosar de spălare de bani||Gheorghe Ștefan “Pinalti” (primar PDL al Piatra-Neamț)||2009-2014||A administrat în fapt SC Strong Montaj SA folosindu-se de interpuși făcând acte de comerț incompatibile cu funcția pe care o deținea, aceea de primar al municipiului Piatra-Neamț; prin intermediul societății SC Strong Montaj SA a spălat 4.414.221,28 lei, aproximativ un milion euro.||29 iunie 2018 – 3 ani și 3 luni de închisoare cu executare.|
3 thoughts on “Romania: where communism rumbles on in Europe”
Thank you for this interesting and level-headed insight into the recent history and your commitment to your country!
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Amazing and eloquent insight to your country. It is beautiful and the people I have encountered from there are great ambassadors. My partner and I remain strong in our support of Romania and it’s people. I can’t wait to visit with my partner who is from Foçsani!
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thank you for this huge work. 🙂
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