An investigation has been opened against Romanian Senate President Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, who is alleged to have received $800,000 in bribes from the purchase of Microsoft licences when he was head of the government in 2008, Romania’s Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (DNA) announced today.
The former centre-right prime minister and current leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats is implicated in a government purchase of 40,000 Microsoft licenses for $26 million, which he endorsed. Part of the $800,000 illegally collected was used to fund his campaign, said the DNA Thursday.
The investigation was initiated on the basis of a request from Vienna, as it was an Austrian company that acted as intermediary in this case, prosecutors said.
Tariceanu (66) rejected the charges, saying they are part of a series of “undemocratic and unconstitutional actions” by the judiciary.
A dozen former ministers have been targeted since 2014 by an extensive investigation into the purchase of Microsoft licenses. One of them, Gabriel Sandu, in charge of Communications between 2008 and 2010, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2016.
The $26 million contract signed in 2008 was one of the many endorsements signed by Bucharest following an initial $54 million license purchase agreement, which was signed in 2004.
Of this sum, “20 million represented commissions claimed by people involved in this contract, both within ministries and private companies,” said the DNA.
The prosecutors said they had filed a request to investigate his affairs with the Attorney General’s office.
However, Senators in the Justice Commission will have to approve the request, and the Senate must vote to approve lifting his immunity for the investigation to proceed.
Microsoft has been suspected of paying bribes in several countries around the world in recent years. US authorities have recently opened an investigation into software sales in Hungary, the Wall Street Journal said in August.