The mayor of Craiova city, Social Democrat vice-president Lia Olguta Vasilescu was taken into custody by the anti-corruption prosecutors on Wednesday. She had been heard for several hours at the National Anti-corruption Directorate previously in the day.
Prosecutors accuse her of bribe taking (four crimes), of using her influence to obtain money and other undue benefits (three crimes) and money laundering. Judges from the Bucharest Tribunal will decide on Thursday if the mayor will be detained for 30 days.
“During 2012, on the occasion of the local elections for the Craiova city hall, candidate Lia Olguta Vasilescu determined several businessmen, directly or through some other people from the campaign staff, to make several donations. To obtain these benefits, the defendant used her influence over the businessmen, in her position of vicepresident of the county organization. <The donations>, estimated to EUR 135,907 were paid for publishing electoral materials but also for organizing electoral shows to support the defendant’s campaign,” reads the press release issued by the anti-corruption prosecutors.
Judicial sources told Agerpres that a company interested in obtaining public contracts with the local administration had covered the costs for the concert performed by Goran Bregovic in Vasilescu’s electoral campaign in 2012, including the expenses for the artist’s travel in Romania.
DNA also states that during 2014, Olguta Vasilescu would have pretended and received RON 544,209 from several entrepreneurs for a NGO. “More precisely, Olguta Vasilescu asked the businessmen who had ongoing contracts with the Craiova city hall to sponsor a NGO represented by Popescu Elena Daniela (who is also defendant in this case) for conducting several rehabilitation works on the facades of some buildings in Craiova,” DNA reveals.
Before entering the hearings, Vasilescu told journalist she doesn’t know why she has been subpoenaed and in what file. However, she came accompanied by a lawyer.
Answering a question, the mayor said she might have been called following a denunciation made against her by local businessman Adrian Mititelu.
Several investigations targeting civil servants within Craiova City Hall and public service contracts have been initiated lately, but mayor Vasilescu has never been eyed in ay of them.
Elena Udrea makes common cause with Olguta Vasilescu
Deputy Elena Udrea joined the cause of Craiova detained mayor, announcing she will go to the Central Arrest office in solidarity with Olguta Vasilescu and to protest that the latter has been taken out handcuffed from the DNA HQs.
“I am resentful about the manner that Lia Olguta Vasilescu was taken out handcuffed from the DNA headquarters. But what could have happened? What could the woman have done, to run, to beat the police officers? (…) I shall go the central arrest, where they got me out handcuffed, too, a year ago, to prove that there is courage and solidarity in the society. It doesn’t matter the political color (…),” Udrea posted on Facebook.
She slammed the fact that, considering it’s a new case of financing of the electoral campaign, any politician can be called to account.