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Harry Cassin
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Glamorous former Romanian minister held for graft (Warning: adult content)

A former Romanian tourism minister and presidential candidate was taken into custody this week by anti-graft police on suspicion of money laundering and influence peddling.

Elena Udrea finished fourth in November’s presidential election.

She was detained Tuesday and held for 24 hours. A court could order her arrest and prosecution in the next 30 days.

She’s accused of soliciting a $560,000 bribe to award contracts while she served as minister of tourism.

Udrea, 41, reportedly had a close relationship with Traian Basescu, Romania’s president from 2004 to 2014.

She’s best known for her racy photos and extravagant shopping habits.

Udrea’s ex-husband, businessman Dorin Cocos, has also been detained.

Romania’s parliament stripped immunity from several former ministers targeted in an investigation involving alleged bribes and kickbacks from re-sellers of Microsoft software.

Prosecutors have alleged the government paid $54 million for licenses and $20 million of that went as bribes to members of successive governments and private firms.

Udrea has denied the charges.

She served as minister of tourism between 2008 and 2009 and as minister of regional development and tourism between 2009 and 2012.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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  1. Where's the promised adult content?

  2. By the way, two public scandals, involving state officials and persons owning huge amounts of money, erupted last week. So huge that it is almost unbelievable in such country as Romania.
    The story of MEDIAPRO (Mediafax agency) and its founder Adrian Sârbu sparked a special interest due to the influence, which this company and its creator had on the public opinion over a long time.
    Everything in this story is related to two main charges – money laundering and tax evasion, involving numerous people who held the key managing positions in two companies.
    However, on 21 August 2013 Adrian Sârbu resigned from the position of CME CEO, but remained in the company until 1 January 2014.
    Adrian Sârbu said, “I am proud that I was part of CME for over 20 years and could ensure the continued success of the company in this difficult period. It is an exceptional organisation with talented employees. I am confident that the company is well positioned for the future. My mission at CME is accomplished.”
    In its recently published release the company claimed:
    “Ronald Lauder, the CME founder and the Chairman of Board of Directors, declared on behalf of the Board of Directors: I would like to thank Adrian for his vital contribution to the CME’s success, for his passion, dedication and exceptional creative vision, which he had always had since 1995. As for the last period, Adrian played a major role in the CME multi-channel strategy implementation and new initiatives. He diligently and successfully worked as the CEO to keep the company’s market leading positions during the period of complex macro-economic conditions and industry’s transition. We are grateful to Adrian for his work and looking forward to working with him in the future.”
    So, corruption scandals in Romania grows. Let's see what will happen next

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