Former Romanian finance minister Darius Valcov has been sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption. The High Court in Bucharest on Thursday found Valcov guilty of influence peddling, money laundering and financial operations incompatible with public office. He was also barred from holding public office for 4 years.
Valcov was accused of taking kickbacks from a businessman while he was mayor of the city of Slatina in return for granting his company a contract to provide services to the city.
Following Valcov’s intervention, the company owned by Theodor Berna won the licence to provide an extension and rehabilitation of water and wastewater systems in Olt county. After granting these contracts in 2011, Valcov went regularly to the businessman’s office, where he received the total amount of 1.2 million lei in three installments of 400,000 lei each, according to prosecutors.
Later in 2011, Valcov received a further 2.5 million lei, in five installments of 500.000 lei from the businessman. The investigators have also determined that Darius Valcov received 3,080,000 lei in the period 2012- 2013, also from Berne through several companies.
In order to recover the money from the former minister, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) seized from Valcov three gold ingots worth 465,355 lei, 172 works of art worth 2,558,658 lei, 63,010 pounds sterling, 290,334 euros and 73,077 US dollars.
The ruling does not necessarily mean that Valcov is headed for jail, as the court’s decision is not final.
In January, while the case against Valcov was ongoing, Romania’s new prime minister, Viorica Dancila, appointed him as a financial advisor to the government. Dancila has said that she intends to keep Valcov on in his position as financial advisor saying he enjoys the presumption of innocence until a final decision.
“I will never abandon a member of my team going through a difficult moment,” Dancila said before a party meeting.