Romania’s police chief Liviu Vasilescu has resigned after a furor erupted over a midnight meeting with the brother of a slain Romanian mobster in a church to discuss his funeral.
Florin Mototolea, 39, known as Emi Pian, the leader of the notorious Duduianu clan, was fatally stabbed by a rival criminal group in Bucharest in early August. The main suspect was arrested.
Pian’s body lay at the family home for a week, and hundreds of people came to the house for the wake, contravening health rules during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Romania, people are normally buried within three days of their death.
Police officers monitored the situation, but didn’t fine anyone.
Pian’s brother, Elvis Pian, later claimed he met police chief Vasilescu and two other police chiefs in a church to negotiate conditions for his brother’s funeral. Photos of the meeting appeared in the media.
Vasilescu later confirmed he’d met members of the gang ahead of the funeral, but claimed the meeting had been legal and constructive.
Instead of calming the situation, however, his comments stirred a backlash.
President Klaus Iohannis said he had asked Interior Minister Marcel Vela to publicly explain the situation.
Vasilescu on Tuesday tendered his resignation and said that he’d done his job “honorably and in good faith.”
“I have noticed lately a media onslaught against the interior ministry and… Romanian police at a time when the country needs peace and … efforts to protect citizens.”
“So, please allow me to step down from the position of general inspector of the Romanian Police, to remain a simple police officer and to carry out the tasks that are given to me,” Vasilescu told a press conference.
Vasilescu was appointed to the position in August 2019 by former Prime Minister Viorica Dancila.
His predecessor was forced to resign over the case of two girls who were kidnapped and murdered in southern Romania in a case that exposed links between police chiefs and mobsters.