Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors have initiated criminal proceedings against 12 persons, including two Members of the Romanian Parliament, following an investigation conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and finalised in July 2015.
OLAF examined possible irregularities in the project entitled “Social Entrepreneurship. A Chance for the Roma Communities,” which was co-financed by the European Social Fund. The project aimed at training young Roma, a vulnerable minority in Romania, on aspects of social entrepreneurship, thus supporting their social inclusion. Following investigative activities, including an on-the-spot check at the premises of the project beneficiaryAssociation Partida Romilor – Pro Europa, OLAF not only discovered the project was just partly implemented, but uncovered a fraudulent scheme that had been established to divert a part of the salaries of the project staff back into the organisation’s budget. In practice, the management of the association forced employees to pay some of their wages back to the association as “donations.” OLAF estimates that 4.6 million euros have been defrauded from the European Union budget in this manner.
In August 2015, OLAF communicated the results of its investigation to the Romanian Judicial Authority, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), recommending the initiation of judicial proceedings. Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors have currently asked the Chamber of Deputies to approve prosecution and preventive detention measures against Madalin Voicu and Nicolae Paun, the Members of the Romanian Parliament suspected in this case.