Romanian prosecutors accuses ex-minister of bribery

The Romanian prosecutor’s office has accused former politician Nicolae Banicioiu of bribery in the amount of € 800,000 while he was minister of sports and youth affairs and then minister of health, according to Romanian media «».

Last week, the Parliament of Romania stripped Banicioiu of immunity, giving prosecutors an opportunity to pursue charges.

The bribery charges relate to two ministerial portfolios that he owned in the government of ex-Prime Minister Victor Ponta, namely his participation in the appointment of hospital directors.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the total amount of the alleged bribes was € 800,000.

In particular, Banicioiu received € 265,000 from two businessmen when he was minister of sports and youth affairs in 2012-2014. For a bribe, he promised to persuade then-health minister, Eugen Nicolaescu, to appoint certain people as hospital managers.

Moreover, he received another bribe of € 534,000 from the same businessmen when he became minister of health between 2014 and 2015. The businessmen wanted certain managers appointed to the respective hospitals, which had contracts with companies they controlled.

In turn, Nicolae Banicioiu is now a deputy and a member of Victor Ponta’s PRO Romania party. He denied the accusations in a Facebook post. He added that he has nothing against having his immunity lifted so that the whole situation is cleared.