Ex-Romanian health minister who resigned as hospital manager over bribe-taking charges, decides she wants to stay in the job

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea

Former health minister Sorina Pintea currently under investigation on suspicion of taking a 35,000 euros in bribes no longer intends to resign as the manager of a hospital in northwestern Romania, authorities said.  

Pintea, the manager of the Baia Mare Emergency Hospital, was detained on February 29 after a sting operation. Prosecutors allegedly caught her as she took 120,000 lei in her office.

Anti-corruption prosecutors said she’s suspected of taking bribes of 10,000 euros and 120,000 lei (25,000 euros) in two installments from an intermediary from December 2019-February 2020.

The kickback represented 7% of the value of a contract for renovating a cardiovascular unit at the hospital, prosecutors said in a statement.

 Pintea strenuously denies wrongdoing, according to her lawyer Viorel Mocanu. She resigned as manager on March 5.

Mediafax news agency reported Wednesday that Pintea had decided to withdraw her resignation and instead take medical leave.

The information was confirmed by local authorities in Maramures county.

Pintea was released from detention after a week and restrictions were placed on her movements during the probe.

Pintea, a Social Democrat, was health minister from January 2018 to October 2019.

Last year, she was accused of intimidating a non-governmental organization that raised 26 million euros for a pediatric cancer hospital. She said the funds that were raised over four years should be handed to the state.

When she was minister, Pintea sent a team of undercover detectives to Romanian hospitals last year to check out whether medics and nurses are demanding or accepting bribes.


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