The Week in Bucharest Life

Former Minister of Tourism Elena Udrea was spared arrest on Wednesday after the Romanian parliament voted against lifting her parliamentary immunity. The Romanian anti-corruption agency, the DNA, had asked for Udrea’s arrest after bringing additional charges of corruption against her. Arrested and detained for almost two months earlier this year on money laundering charges, Udrea has now also been accused of taking a €3.8 million bribe in exchange for helping to facilitate the awarding of energy contracts to associates of her former husband, Dorin Cocos, himself currently under investigation for all sorts of mafia-like behaviour. Udrea – who despite Wednesday’s vote can still be held by investigators and questioned for up to 24 hours at a time – has this time promised to sing like a canary. ‘There are things I can’t wait to tell the investigators,’ she said on Tuesday.

In other ‘corrupt politican not in prison’ news, the suspended mayor of Bucharest Sorin Oprescu was this week released from police custody to house arrest.

Interior and vice-prime minister Gabriel Oprea stubbornly refused to resign in the wake of last week’s tragic incident in which one of his motorcycle outriders was killed while on duty. President Klaus Iohannis has ‘advised’ Oprea to resign, while the opposition PNL have called on parliament to dismiss Oprea in a confidence vote which will probably be held next week. Sources at TV station Digi24 reported that Oprea has this year so far managed more than 1500 ‘urgent missions’, an average of more than five per day. Meantime, the government of Victor Ponta issued an emergency ordinance extending the number of public figures entitled to police escorts.

An amendment to the fiscal code will reduce to just one per cent the tax rate paid by most Romanian small and medium-sized companies (including – disclosure klaxon – Bucharest Life’s) from April next year. The tax, which is paid on turnover, not profit, had been at three per cent for some time.

Romania’s female gymnasts finished just 13th in qualifying at the World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. It was the first time in history that Romania’s girls have placed outside the top eight teams, failing to qualify for the final. Their presence at next year’s Olympics in Rio, Brazil, is now in doubt: Romania needs to enter an Olympic qualifying event next April with all of the other teams that finished outside the top eight in Glasgow (the top four of those will go to the games). Just one Romanian, Larisa Iordache, performed well enough to qualify for the individual all-around final. She finished third, and took a bronze medal. Some consolation at least.

10 thoughts on “The Week in Bucharest Life

  1. I know Oprea’s motorcades very well. He runs a black VW Phaeton down Regina Elisabeta all the time with the motorcycles. Absolute corrupt asshole of a man. How did he get elected???

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      1. There’s not much good to be taken out of such a tragic evening, but surely this will result in ‘some’ changes to the nightclub industry (ok the token never allowed fireworks inside is a given) but better lit exits, more of them, fire fighting equipment (considering the amount of people who smoke inside) etc … Something like this has to touch the conscience of some of the people in power to make changes – you’d hope!

        It’s not going to be easy though, changes cost money and the amount of places with just one exit, never mind two, is pretty concerning, when something like this happens!

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      2. Unfortunately there are not many premises in Bucharest that would suit the gathering of such large audiences…

        The infrastructure wasn’t meant for night clubs, people gather wherever they can. I don’t know what can be done about it… if you ask people which way would they prefer: risk to die in a fire or have their favorite club closed down… they would risk the fire.

        They’re doing it every evening, in fact.

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    1. We’re gonna go back to talking politicians in about 1 week or so… the only things that will interrupt us will be some of the injured which will be dying in the next weeks.

      And then all tv stations will be airing “breaking news… another victim had just passed away in what had become the worse……………” blablabla

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