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Romanian Prosecutors Probe BRD Official Over Fraud Allegations

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Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Romanian prosecutors are investigating a senior banker at BRD-Groupe Societe Generale SA, the No. 2 bank, and government officials in connection with an alleged 22 million-euro ($28 million) bank fraud.

Organized crime prosecutors are probing a 48-member group that allegedly “obtained significant financial benefits” over the past two years by obtaining funding with false documents, the Department for Investigating Organized crime and Terrorism said in a statement on its website.

The group, which controlled several companies, allegedly got or tried to get 40 loans from 16 banks, the office said. It illegally obtained financing from the Economy Ministry to buy machineries, according to the statement. The allegations also include money laundering.

BRD Vice President Claudiu Cercel, Aurel Saramet, the head of the country’s Credit Guarantee Fund for Small- and Medium-Sized Companies, and three Economy Ministry employees are named on the website as among those involved in the probe.

Cercel denied allegations, according to Realitatea TV, while Saramet declined to comment, when brought in for questioning. BRD said it is aware of the investigation. Cercel didn’t immediately answer his mobile phone and Saramet’s mobile appeared to be disconnected.

“The investigation is ongoing and all the facts will be analyzed under the presumption of innocence,” BRD said in an e-mailed statement delivered to Bloomberg today. “The bank’s activity hasn’t been affected by this event and we remain willing to provide all the needed information to the authorities.”

The Economy Ministry said in a separate statement that it will suspend Saramet and the other three employees pending the investigation.

The prosecutors already raided banks, companies and the houses of those involved to gather data. They said they will question about 100 people to help complete the investigation and take the necessary legal measures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at