Deputy central bank Governor Bogdan Olteanu (photo 1) was detained by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors Thursday night for influence peddling, after being heard for several hours, local media report. According to the prosecutors, Olteanu allegedly received EUR 1 million from controversial businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu and other benefits in order to take steps for naming the Danube Delta Governor, digi24.ro reports.
Olteanu is under a 24 hour retention ordinance for influence peddling.
Bogdan Olteanu has admitted during the hearings he had discussed with Sorin Ovidiu Vintu in 2008 on the issue of naming the Danube Delta governor (Liviu Mihaiu – photo 2) but denied receiving money.
According to sources, Sorin Ovidiu Vintu sent to Olteanu EUR 2 million through an intermediary, after their meeting in the Danube Delta on the businessman’s property. Of this amount, EUR 1 million allegedly went to Calin Popescu Tariceanu, prime minister at the time, on order to appoint Liviu Mihaiu as Danube Delta governor, news.ro reports. Sources also point to electoral support, marketing and consultancy from the businessman, who had economic interests in the region.
Olteanu is to be summoned in court with the proposal of preventive arrest.
The DNA release reads: “During July-November 2008, defendant Bogdan Olteanu, as Chamber of Deputies Speaker, claimed and received from a businessman EUR 1,000,000 and electoral support, i.e. marketing and consultancy, in exchange for making steps upon the Romanian Government members to appoint a certain person as the Danube Delta Governor. The money was handed by the businessman through an intermediary, at the offices of a political party. Subsequently, following Bodgan Olteanu intercession, the person was appointed on September 18, 2008 in the office of Danube Delta Governor.”
Other persons are involved in the file.
Judiciary sources say Sorin Ovidiu Vintu and the intermediary have admitted giving the money. The same sources say there are witnesses that can confirm the handing over of the money, witnesses already heard by the DNA.
Who is the intermediary?
According to ‘Evenimentul zilei’ newspaper the person who delivered information to the prosecutors is a former employee of Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, namely Ionut Adrian Eftimie, the intermediary who handed the money to Bogdan Olteanu. Eftimie is sentenced to six years and four months in prison in the Petromservice file, the file in which Vintu and trade unionist Liviu Luca are also sentenced. Adrian Eftimie is the son of trade unionist Ion Eftimie, the one designated by businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu to manage Realitatea Media, proarges.ro informs. Ionut Adrian Eftimie was not officially employed by Petroservice, but was placed under remand for the first time on October 8, together with six managers of the company, among them chairman Mihai Sorin, in a file conducted by DIICOT.
Businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vintu was heard on Thursday by the DNA at Rahova Penitentiary.
Liviu Mihaiu was appointed Danube Delta Governor in September 2008 by the then PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, and was in office until February 2009.
Călin Popescu Tăriceanu: I do not comment on rumours
Senate Speaker and ALDE co-chair Calin Popescu Tariceanu claimed on Thursday he would reply after the number of denouncements reaches two digits, adding: “No matter how much I am hunted by the DNA, ALDE would run for the general elections.”
“I do not comment on rumours. Supposing my name is mentioned one way or another in a denouncement coming from a detained person, I expect that, as election gets nearer, more arrested people and suspects to make more denouncements against me, in order to get the DNA promise for a more indulgent treatment.”
Tariceanu added that former President Traian Basescu had made countless efforts to eliminate him from the government at the time and from politics. “He didn’t succeed, as in my entire career there aren’t any corruption deeds.”
Liviu Mihaiu: I did not know, I did not participate in the alleged transaction
The former Danube Delta Governor Liviu Mihaiu commented on the issue on his Facebbook page, saying he did not know and did not participate in the alleged transaction, but claims ironic he is ‘honoured’ that his ‘transfer’ has had such a high level.
“I am glad I was the Danube Delta Governor for almost five months (2008-2009) and I decided on some measures: banning hunting, the urbanism and construction regulation in the Danube Delta, banning sturgeon fishing and the measures taken against poaching. I did not know and I did not participate in the alleged transaction to name me as Danube Delta Governor. Probably is a good pretext for the former mogul to have the former Chamber of Deputies Speaker at hand. I am ‘honoured’ that my ‘transfer’ reached such a high level, but I am terrified that one of the best and most honest Danube Delta governors (sorry) reached that position through an act of corruption at such a high level,” Mihaiu wrote on Facebook.
Furthermore, he claimed no one of those involved in the scandal has ever contacted him to request something. “For the simple reason that there were my terms to Calin Popescu Tariceanu in order to accept the office. Let Justice do its (entire) duty!” Liviu Mihaiu said.
BNR: Bogdan Olteanu’s duties will be assumed by other members of the executive
The National Bank of Romania (BNR) has announced on Friday that Bogdan Olteanu’s duties will be assumed by other members of the executive, adding that the investigation against Olteanu is targeting his activity before taking the office of deputy governor of the central bank.
“In connection with the remand of Mr. Bogdan Olteanu, the National Bank of Romania states that the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) investigation – Department of combating crimes assimilated to corruption is targeting his activity before being appointed by Parliament the mandate of deputy governor of the central bank, according to the press release issued by the DNA. BNR mentions that the institution’s activity is going on normally, the duties of Mr. Deputy Governor will be taken over according to internal procedures in force by the other members of the executive management,” the National Bank of Romania informs in a press release.