Thursday, October 30, 2014

Romania's ruling party member detained for suspected corruption

BUCHAREST, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Former vice president of Romania's Deputies Chamber Viorel Hrebenciuc was detained for 24 hours on Tuesday by anti-corruption prosecutors, after several hours of hearings in a case of alleged illegal forest restitution.

Hrebenciuc, handcuffed, was taken by investigators in a car heading to the Supreme Court in Bucharest after five hours of hearings in the National Anti-corruption Directorate's (DNA) local headquarters in Brasov, central Romania.

Earlier this month, DNA announced its intention to prosecute Hrebenciuc in an influence trading case related to alleged illegal restitutions of large forest surfaces belonging Romsilva, the state forests' administration company.

Hrebenciuc, together with others, is believed to have formed an organized crime group to have some 43,000 hectares of forests illegally restituted by Romsilva to a group of private persons. The damage to Romsilva cost the company more than 300 million euros (about 382 million U.S. Dollars), according to DNA prosecutors.

DNA also prosecuted Hrebenciuc in another case of influence peddling.

Hrebenciuc is a heavyweight figure of the main ruling Social Democratic Party. He was a member of the National Executive Committee of the party, leader of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats and vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, before his resignation last Thursday.

He announced his resignation at the Palace of the Parliament, saying, "I have decided to resign...I am already available for prosecutors, as I have no immunity...this is my own decision."

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