Romania’s Anti-Corruption Unit, the DNA – led by the heroic Laura Codruta Kovesi – is back in business.
After a quiet summer the DNA last night arrested Sorin Oprescu, Mayor of Bucharest since 2008, for corruption. Specifically, he is accused of taking large bribes in exchange for awarding council contracts to certain companies (a practice which, truth be told, goes on in just about every town and village in Romania).
We will of course wait for justice to take its full natural course before passing judgement on whether or not Oprescu is guilty of the charges, but of one other thing we can be certain: he has been an appalling mayor whose obsession with grandiose, white elephant projects – not least the Arena Nationala – has almost bankrupted the city and prevented real investment in the kind of infrastructure project Bucharest actually needs.
With local elections due next year it is now highly unlikely that Oprescu will even be able to run, let alone win. Which begs the question: who will be the city’s next mayor?
Update… It appears that Oprescu was caught trousering the cash more or less in flagrante delicto. Bang to rights. As we write, the DNA are searching Oprescu’s four (yes, four) homes.