Romanian police said a former tourism minister Elena Udrea has been arrested in Bulgaria after she left Romania shortly before a court handed her a six-year sentence for bribery.
The High Court for Cassation and Justice on Thursday upheld a 2018 lower court ruling for Ms. Udrea, 48, a former presidential candidate and one of Romania’s most powerful politicians of her time with close ties to former president, Traian Basescu.
She reportedly left the country early Thursday but was later arrested in Bulgaria according to media reports quoting police. Police issued an arrest warrant after they failed to find her at home.
It was the second time she fled Romania to evade justice, In 2018, she fled to Costa Rica with prosecutor Alina Bica, where they were briefly arrested. They were late repatriated.
. Thursday’s ruling concluded a seven-year trial after the defendant used several delay tactics to postpone a verdict.
She was found guilty of misusing government funds and demanding bribes from private firms contracted by her ministry.
She was convicted on charges of bribery and abuse of office. She was ordered to pay more than eight million lei (1.623 million euros) in damages. The tourism ministry was ordered to pay 900,000 euros to two witnesses.
The court ruled that she had demanded a 10% cut of several contracts the Tourism Ministry signed with private firms in exchange for the ministry making payments on time.
Mr. Basescu was president from 2004 to 2014. A court ruled recently that he had been an agent of the former Securitate secret police. As a result of the ruling, he lost his grace- and-favor house and state security.