Mayor of Timisoara, prosecuted in mega real estate fraud case

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The National Anti-corruption Directorate prosecuted current and former local leaders in Timisoara, western Romania, including mayor Nicolae Robu, for abuse of office in a corruption case related to the illegal sale of nationalized houses.

Nicolae Robu was subpoenaed at the National Anti-corruption Directorate in Friday to be informed about being criminally prosecuted.

The case is probing into the way hundreds of contracts to sell nationalized houses downtown Timisoara have been signed. The prejudice is quite significant, mounting to EUR 40 M.

“I am a suspect, everybody has this legal classification. I am suspect for I have signed these purchase agreements, that have been drafted by law breaking, but it’s not me who drafted them,” Roby said while leaving the DNA headquarters, also adding he is innocent.

Robu, also interim leader of the Timisoara Liberal Party branch, said he won’t resign from the mayor office, also adding that thr law on the abuse of office must be revised so that criminals should be convicted, but the honest-minded should not be exposed on decision-making.

Deputy mayor Dan Diaconu, former mayor of Timisoara, Gheroghe Ciuhandu, but also ex-deputy mayor Traian Stoia and former director Martin Staia were also prosecuted for abuse of office in the same case.

More precisely, the anti-corruption prosecutors investigate the illegal retrocession of 967 houses in Timisoara.

DNA says that during 1996-2015, public servants in the Timisoara City Hall, by breaking the Law 112/1995, have stripped the Romanian state of 967 houses in the city’s old center, by illegal retrocessions. The prejudice is mounting to EUR 40 M.

The buildings were sold later on on the crook, for frugal prices, to some influential people in Timisoara, although the law addressed only to those who have been abusively depossesed.

“It seems that aorund 1,000 houses have been sold. I cannot say what was before. There was a decision of the previous local administration allowing the house sales also based on reneting contracts that had been signed before the law came into force. There are two apartments sold this way during my mandate. A 24-sqm studio apartment and a two-room apartment to some modest families. So one cannot speak about corruption, or high-ranking persons. I asked the city hall clerks to tell me if the transactions were compliant with the law and they told me that the law has been observed. I consider myself innocent (…) Probably most of the houses were sold during the mandate of Mr. Ciuhandu, as the law came into force in 1996. I asked an investigation in 2013 on all property transfers and I mentioned including clans,” Robu also said.



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