Romania’s anti-corruption unit said Friday it had detained 13 people, including a former Bucharest district mayor on charges of setting up a criminal group that defrauded a supermarket chain.
The anti-corruption unit said that the group had been detained Friday for 24 hours.
Former district mayor Marian Vanghelie, his brother, a supermarket manager and other commercial managers were taken into custody.
Mr. Vanghelie is charged with multiple acts of influence peddling, setting up a criminal network, and instigation to abuse in office “with serious consequences.”
The indictment said that at the end of 2018, the suspect, who was then an adviser in the 5th district local council, together with the manager of the Economat discount supermarket and a businessman formed a criminal gang. Other later joined the group.
Their aim was to obtain material benefits to the detriment of the SC Economat supermarket, in which the local council was the main shareholder.
The supermarket illegally purchased stock at higher than market rates. Goods included face masks, candies, commercial scales, disinfectant gel, and food and non-food products.
Prosecutors said that while the gang operated from 2018-2020, every group member had a clearly defined task and role, assigned by ringleader Marian Vanghelie.
He has denied wrongdoing in the case.
The Bucharest Court sentenced him to almost 12 years for bribes and money laundering worth 30 million euros in the same case last year. The ruling is not final.
The populist Vanghelie played on his working-class background to appeal to voters. He was mayor of the low-income Bucharest 5th district from 2000 to 2016.
The district 5 town hall established Economat, a supermarket with affordable prices in 2002. It was an initiative aimed to help consumers in one of the poorest districts of the capital.