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Ex-Romanian minister brings gold bars to pay €1 million bail

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Ex-Romanian minister brings gold bars to pay €1 million bail

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A former Romanian finance minister, brought 3 kilograms of gold worth €110,000 EUR and an additional €315.000 in cash to bail himself on corruption charges.

Sebastian Vladescu, who served two spells in charge of his country's finances is accused by prosecutors from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) of taking bribes linked to a railway contract. He denies the charges.

The bail procedure was recently introduced in the Romanian penal code and represents an alternative to preventive arrest. Since the procedure came into force in 2014, this is the first time a bail was partially or fully redeemed in gold, according to the DNA website.

For the rest of the €1 million sum, Mr.Vladescu offered real-estate guarantees. The valuables were deposited in an account belonging to the National Anticorruption Directorate according to the institution’s press releases.

When contacted by phone to comment on the unique manner he chose to cover the bail, ex-minister Sebastian Vladescu declined to answer.

Vladescu, who was finance minister between August 2005 and April 2007 and from December 2009 until October 2010 is being investigated for bribery and influence peddling. The charges are linked to a railway revamping contract valued at 820 million EUR. The rehabilitation work covering the railway section between Bucharest and the city port of Constanta took 6 years to complete despite the section being only 225 kilometres long.

The total payoff for the public tender was estimated by prosecutors to have been around €20 million, out of which Sebastian Vladescu allegedly received €1 million.

“Between 2008 and 2009, the ex-finance minister received about 1 million EUR. The money was transferred with the help of people close to Mr.Vladescu, and traceable by means of fictitious contracts”, said in a press release from DNA, the Romanian agency tasked with preventing, investigating and prosecuting corruption-related offences.