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Former Romanian tourism minister sentenced to six years in jail

Baku, March 29, AZERTAC

Former Romanian tourism minister Elena Udrea, known as the protégé of former President Traian Basescu, was sentenced to six years in jail, no parole, for bribery and abuse of office in a case related to the illegal financing by the Tourism Ministry of a boxing gala in 2011. The High Court’s decision is not final and Udrea can still file an appeal, according to Romania-Insider news portal.

This high-profile case prosecuted by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) started after a journalistic investigation carried out by local sports newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor in April 2011. The reporters showed that the Tourism Ministry had illegally financed the organizing of the boxing gala starring Romanian champion Lucian Bute, which took place on July 9, 2011.

The Tourism Ministry paid some EUR 2 million to a private firm controlled by former Romanian boxer Rudel Obreja, which organized the gala. The payment was disguised as a contract to promote Romania’s image via this sports event. The Tourism Ministry had filed for EU funds to get the money back, but the European Commission’s antifraud department OLAF froze the payment in autumn 2011, according to Gazeta Sporturilor.

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