Romanian Central Banker Olteanu to Resign Amid Graft Probe

  • Deputy Governor under house arrest for influence peddling
  • Move is part of wide-ranging crackdown on corruption

Romania’s deputy central bank governor Bogdan Olteanu will step down on Monday after he was placed under house arrest as part of an anti-corruption crackdown that’s already contributed to the departure of a prime minister.

Olteanu was detained early Friday by prosecutors who accuse him of influence peddling and accepting 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from a businessman while serving as parliament speaker in 2008. While he denies wrongdoing, he’ll tender his resignation Monday to avoid tarnishing the central bank’s image, his lawyer, Constantin Gurghiu, told reporters in Bucharest. The Supreme Court decided to place Olteanu under house arrest for 30 days, according to a text message from the court’s press office. Gurghiu said Olteanu plans to challenge the decision.

“In July to November 2008, Olteanu requested and received 1 million euros and electoral support in exchange for proceeding to convince government members to name a certain person as Danube Delta governor,” the prosecutors said in a statement. “The money was delivered by the businessman through an intermediary at a party headquarters.”

The European Union’s second-poorest member has jailed hundreds of politicians and businessmen under a nationwide anti-graft campaign that engulfed former Prime Minister Victor Ponta before he stepped down last year.

The bank said Friday in a statement that Olteanu is being probed for his actions before becoming a member of the bank’s executive board in 2009. The central bank said his duties will be divided up between other board members and that bank operations are continuing as normal. The board meets next to set interest rates on Aug. 4.

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