The UK has extradited one of Europe’s most wanted criminals to Romania, where he is accused of human trafficking, murder and money laundering, police said on Friday.
Romanian authorities accuse 45-year-old Florin Ghinea of leading a “major criminal network” that sent Romanian women to Ireland, Finland and Dubai to be sexually exploited, the UK’s National Crime Agency said in a statement.
He is also accused of conspiring to kill a criminal rival.
Guinea, who disappeared from Romania in May 2018, was tracked down to the UK and arrested as he left a gym in Watford near London, in August 2018.
In May of that year, he had been placed on a Europol list of most wanted fugitives, after a court issued a warrant for preventive arrest in his name.
Ghinea disappeared from home shortly before DIICOT, the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism – the Romanian agency tasked with investigating and prosecuting organised crime and terrorism-related offenses, raided his home in Dambovita County, as part of a sweep against organised crime.
According to Romanian prosecutors, he was tipped off by a policeman he met just before the raid. Interior Minister Carmen Dan ordered an internal investigation into the allegations of a police tip-off.
Romanian media reports that a judge was sentenced to seven years in prison for accepting a bribe of 40,000 euros to release the alleged crime boss after he was arrested in 2009.
In a statement, Dave Hucker, who heads European Operations for NCA International, called Guinea’s extradition “a huge success” and “the result of some excellent joint working between the NCA and Romanian law enforcement.”
“I’ve no doubt our streets are safer as a result,” Hucker added.