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Bucharest mayor busted for bribery

On Sunday night the mayor of the Romanian capital of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, was arrested for taking a bribe of €25,000 ($28,000). His preventive detention will last thirty days.

Oprescu, 63, pictured left, is serving his second term as Bucharest mayor. He took office in June 2008.

He allegedly took bribes and kickbacks while in office  in exchange for awarding public contracts. Prosecutors said several other top municipal officials were also involved in the scheme.

The mayor and his cronies allegedly kept up to 70 percent of the profits from the public contracts.

Over the weekend, officials from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) searched the Bucharest City Hall, the offices of the Cemeteries Administration, and the Prince Brancoveanu cultural center.

Police arrested the city hall administrator, along with Oprescu’s former driver and two heads of the Prince Brancoveanu cultural center.

Earlier this year, current Romania Prime Minister Victor Ponta was charged with forgery of documents, complicity in tax evasion, and money laundering.

A criminal investigation by the DNA found alleged offenses committed between 2007 and 2011, when Ponta was serving as a lawyer at a private law firm.

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Elena Lazareva is a former lawyer for Transparency International-Russia and alumna of the University of California School of Law. Prior to starting her legal career, Elena worked as a business journalist in Russia and received her degree in journalism from the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

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