14 arrested in the case of EUR 1 M bribe hidden in basins and buckets at the Suceava vehicle registration offices

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Anti-corruption prosecutors have discovered bribes of EUR 1.2 million hidden in buckets, basins and even in walls during searches at the Driving License and Vehicle Registration offices in Suceava. Sums of money have also been found in the employee’s houses.

The National Anti-corruption Directorate has taken on remand 14 people in this case, including a general anti-corruption officer, several policemen. The head of the driving license office is suspected of taking bribe of EUR 20,000 per day.

The file targets corruption deeds during 2018-2020. Besides the bribe taken for releasing driver’s licenses, the investigators also eyed an organized group consisting of employees from the Suceava Driving License and Vehicle Registration offices, as well as traffic policemen who used to facilitate the registration of luxury cars stolen from EU countries in Suceava, local media reported.

The bribe taken for a driver’s license ranged from EUR 5,000 to EUR 7,000, with money being kept in buckets, basins, bags, suitcases and or even hidden in walls.

Anti-corruption prosecutors have raid 67 locations in Bucharest, Suceava,  Botoșani, Neamț, Bacău and Bistrița on Thursday morning. Prosecutors have seized large sums of money: EUR 1,225,000, RON 790,000, USD 12,000, GBP 1,500, jewelry (21 gold bracelets, 18 gold necklaces and 4 gold pendants) and 37 luxury watches, but also eight luxury cars.

The organized criminal group consisted of policemen and civil servants, as well as driving instructors and employees of the Romanian Vehicle Register.

The case has also prompted a row between the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) and the Interior Ministry, with anti-corruption prosecutors getting angry with the policemen for announcing the bribe case first.

After the Interior Ministry’s spokesperson had announced the case, DNA has sent a press release saying that the ministry’s statements “is not based on official data from the criminal investigation”.

The official communication on the DNA files is exclusively done by the DNA, after the case prosecutor gives his/her go-ahead and within the limits stipulated by the domestic norms and by the EU directives. Therefore, the public announcement made by the Interior Ministry regarding the DNA’s actions on November 26,2020, is not based on official data from the criminal investigation and are based on alleged judiciary sources”, reads the DNA press release.

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