Romanian minister sentenced to six years in prison for Corruption arrested in Bulgaria

Politics | April 8, 2022, Friday // 10:24
Bulgaria: Romanian minister sentenced to six years in prison for Corruption arrested in Bulgaria Elena Udrea @Wikimedia Commons

Former Romanian Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, who was finally sentenced to six years in prison for corruption yesterday, has been arrested in Bulgaria and will be handed over to Romanian authorities, BTA reported.

“As a result of the cooperation between the specialized structures within the Ministry of Interior and the authorities in Bulgaria, the woman in whose name a prison sentence was issued was found on the territory of Bulgaria. Specific activities are underway to hand over the woman to Romanian authorities,” Romanian police said.

Yesterday, Udrea was finally sentenced to six years in prison on charges of bribery and abuse of office. A five-member panel of the Supreme Court of Cassation rejected as unfounded the requests of Elena Udrea and the other defendants in the case for annulment of the verdicts in the case “Bute's Gala Evening”.

According to prosecutors, a service contract was signed in 2011 between the Udrea-led Ministry of Tourism and then-Romanian Boxing Federation president Rudel Obreja’s company to promote the country during official events featuring renowned boxer Lucian Bute.

Prosecutors say Udrea used the popularity of Bute, then world champion of the International Boxing Federation, to raise campaign capital using two million euros in state funds.

According to Digi 24, Elena Udrea eft Romania by car via Giurgiu, after which she was declared internationally wanted. She left the country legally because no measure prohibiting her was imposed.

This is not the first time Elena Udrea has fled the country, the television notes. She did the same in 2019 - before the final court decision in the same case, the annulment of which she requested later. Then she also left Romania via Giurgiu, heading first to Greece and then to Costa Rica.

Elena Udrea was arrested in Costa Rica, where she spent two months in custody before a Constitutional Court ruling overturning her final sentence. She was then released and returned to Romania.

Elena Udrea, 49, a former minister of regional development and tourism and a candidate in the November 2014 presidential election, became famous for her close ties to former President Traian Basescu. For a short time, she was the leader of his People's Movement Party.

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