A Romanian Member of Parliament has been sentenced to two years in prison for handing out vast quantities of fast food to voters in a bid to win an election.
Florin Aurelian Popescu, a Liberal Democrat (PDL) politician resigned his parliamentary seat this month ahead of sentencing as he came to answer for a crime committed in 2012. Mr. Popescu was not an MP then, but was seeking re-election on a local council, reports the Telegraph.
Despite it not being a seat in the national parliament Mr. Popescu saw fit to give away 60,992 kg of “grilled chicken”, ordering it in bulk from a local business and sending campaign volunteers to collect and distribute the meat. The prosecutor told the court every package of chicken was “distributed for election purposes”.
In addition to benefiting himself, the edible bribe was part of a campaign to control the mayoralty of Dambovita County, reports Agerpres.
Since the bribe, Mr. Popescu went on to win a seat at the national parliament, and has earned the nickname “chicken baron”.
Although thousands apparently received the bribe, it took the company he paid 485,500 Romanian Leu to (£85,000) for the meat to report his behaviour.
Although Romania is not Europe’s most corrupt nation, it is close and cleaning up the bribe-economy has become a major public and political pre-occupation in recent years. Breitbart London reported last year on how a deadly nightclub fire triggered massive anti-corruption protests, which in turn precipitated the resignation of the prime minister.
The deaths of 32 in an unsafe nightclub which had got health and safety certificates by bribing local officials outraged Romanians and cast a light on the national corrupt culture. former prime minister and communist Victor Ponta, who had faced investigation for tax evasion and fraud stood down in November after he was dragged into the scandal.
The resignations of Mr. Ponta and his cabinet became inevitable after the Romanian rpesident took the unusual step of commenting ont he scandal, remarking: “someone has to take responsibility. The next step is for politicians”.