Romanian court hands ex-Parliament speaker three-year prison sentence for influence trafficking

valeriu zgonea
Foto: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea

A Romanian court has sentenced a former Parliament speaker to three years in prison for influence peddling.

Valeriu Zgonea, who was speaker of the Chamber of Deputies from 2012-2016, was convicted and sentenced Monday on charges that he used his position to engineer a job in the public sector for the daughter of a local politician. The court froze the ex-speaker’s assets worth 62,000 lei, the value of goods he allegedly received in exchange for the favor.

The court ruling can be appealed.  

Zgonea says he is innocent and claims the case against him shows “the abuses of the DNA,” the anti-corruption prosecutors’ directorate.

Prosecutors say that from July 2012 to April 2013 when he was Parliament speaker and deputy chairman of the Social Democracy Party, Zgonea received 62,000 lei (about 13,000 euros at today’s rate) from a county counselor in the county of Buzau in exchange for naming his daughter to public office.The woman, Ionela Viorela Dobrica, is now a lawmaker.

In exchange for the favor, Zgonea was gifted a four-day trip to Vienna including concert tickets and had expenses paid for a holiday home he was building in Transylvania, prosecutors said.

Dobrica was named chairman of the National IT Management Center although she was not qualified for the job. She was later appointed to the post of deputy state secretary in the communications ministry.


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