The Mayor of Baia Mare, Cătălin Cherecheș, has been sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for bribery, a final ruling.
The Cluj Court of Appeal rejected the mayor’s appeal and upheld the sentence given in February 2022 by the Cluj Tribunal, with only a few provisions regarding the complementary penalty being modified. The panel at the Cluj Court of Appeal also included Judge Georgiana Rodica Farcaş Hîngan, whom Cherecheș’s mother-in-law attempted to bribe to obtain a lighter sentence or even an acquittal. Once the final decision of the judges at the Court of Appeal is pronounced, it will be urgently sent to the police in Maramureș, who will implement it.
As the police did not find the mayor either at his home or at his office, Chereches has been placed under nationwide search. Police officers reached Cătălin Cherecheș’ residence but did not find him at home. One of the agents jumped over the mayor’s yard fence. Additionally, he was not located at the City Hall headquarters. A photograph of the mayor has been added to the Romanian Police website, listing him among the individuals subject to search.
Authorities have indications that Baia Mare’s mayor, Cătălin Cherecheș, managed to flee the country on Friday morning before being definitively sentenced to 5 years in prison, according to Digi24 sources. The mayor was under judicial control and was not allowed to leave the country without police approval.
On Thursday night, the mayor posted a 10-minute video message on his official account, continuing to assert his innocence in the bribery charges and even accusing the judges of needlessly dragging out this process.
Chereches’ in-laws were detained by DNA investigators and being in pre-trial detention for allegedly attempting to reach one of the two judges who issued the final decision and bribing them to acquit their son-in-law.