Glamorous former Romanian minister held for graft (Warning: adult content)
Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 10:28AM
Richard L. Cassin in Dorin Cocos, Elena Udrea, Immunity, Microsoft, Romania, Traian Basescu

A former Romanian tourism minister and presidential candidate was taken into custody this week by anti-graft police on suspicion of money laundering and influence peddling.

Elena Udrea finished fourth in November's presidential election.

She was detained Tuesday and held for 24 hours. A court could order her arrest and prosecution in the next 30 days.

She's accused of soliciting a $560,000 bribe to award contracts while she served as minister of tourism.

Udrea, 41, reportedly had a close relationship with Traian Basescu, Romania's president from 2004 to 2014.

She's best known for her racy photos and extravagant shopping habits.

Udrea's ex-husband, businessman Dorin Cocos, has also been detained.

Romania's parliament stripped immunity from several former ministers targeted in an investigation involving alleged bribes and kickbacks from re-sellers of Microsoft software.

Prosecutors have alleged the government paid $54 million for licenses and $20 million of that went as bribes to members of successive governments and private firms.

Udrea has denied the charges.

She served as minister of tourism between 2008 and 2009 and as minister of regional development and tourism between 2009 and 2012.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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