Romanian agricultural head sent to prison for corruption

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Bucharest, Romania —Cicerone Măgerusan, the chairman of Romanian agricultural company Agromec, from the city of Târgu Mureş, was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison for taking bribes of US$65,000. The anti-corruption court found him guilty of taking the bribes from a businessman in 2002 and 2003 in exchange for illegally handing over company shares. Măgerusan was investigated after the businessman informed prosecutors. He can now appeal the sentence only at the Supreme Court, the country's highest court.

The Cicerone Măgerusan case is seen as one of the first successes of a high-profile anti-corruption campaign that has started this year, due to the new Romanian president Traian Băsescu, who has promised to crack down on widespread corruption in the country. Măgerusan is one of the first prominent figures to be imprisoned.

While there remain other high-profile officials suspected of corruption, Romania has set a significant precedent in dealing with the corruption problem. Additionally, on Sunday, Traian Băsescu issued an ultimatum to police and prosecutors, giving them six months to prove that they are serious about fighting corruption.