Romanian prosecutors make first arrest in the diluted disinfectants scandal

Romania’s General Prosecutor’s office, which has been conducting the criminal investigation on the diluted hospital disinfectants scandal, made the first arrest on Friday evening, May 27.


The prosecutors decided to hold Flori Dinu, the general manager of Hexi Pharma, a Romanian company that has been producing and selling diluted disinfectants to hundreds of public hospitals. She will remain in police custody for 24 hours and the prosecutors have also asked the court to extend the preventive arrest measure against her for 30 days.

Flori Dinu is the first person prosecuted in this scandal, which has been holding the first page of the local newspapers in the past month. The prosecutors charged her with more than 100 counts of fraud and for involvement in thwarting disease control.

A journalistic investigation conducted by Gazeta Sporturilor sports newspaper revealed, at the end of April, that Hexi Pharma had been selling highly-diluted disinfectants to local public hospitals for years and that the authorities had never checked the quality of these disinfectants.

Hexi Pharma’s representatives initially denied the allegations, but official controls and tests carried out by the Health Ministry showed that the accusations were real. The General Prosecutor’s office started a criminal investigation on the diluted disinfectants matter on May 4.

After the Health Ministry made the results public, Hexi Pharma apologized and shut down its production. The company also filed for insolvency, but the prosecutors blocked the procedure to prevent money and important documents from leaving the company.

Hexi Pharma’s owner, local businessman Dan Condrea, was called in for questioning by the prosecutors, but the investigators didn’t get the chance to file charges against him as he died on Sunday, May 22, in a car accident near Bucharest.

Condrea’s death closed some of the prosecutors’ leads and forced them to accelerate the investigation into this matter. The General Prosecutor’s office announced on Tuesday, May 24, that Hexi Pharma had contracts with 152 hospitals in Romania to supply them with biocides, between 2014 and 2016. The total value of these contracts was some EUR 11.5 million.

While the prosecutors focused on gathering evidence against Hexi Pharma, the Government’s control body started looking into the biocide acquisitions made by local hospitals, to see if the public purchase procedures had been followed.

The journalists from Gazeta Sporturilor also continued their investigation trying to expose the corrupt purchase system in public hospitals. According to their sources, hospital managers would get up to 30% of the value of contracts closed with Hexi Pharma to purchase the company’s products. Some of the money went to political parties who supported these hospital managers. One doctor who talked to the journalists told them that Hexi Pharma general manager Flori Dinu herself had tried to bribe her into accepting the company’s products in the hospital she was working in at that time. The doctor said she refused the bribe and later quit that hospital. Flori Dinu denied the allegations.

The diluted disinfectant problem was even discussed in the Country’s Supreme Defense Council – CSAT meeting on Friday, May 27. The council decided that the Government should come up with stricter rules for purchasing and controlling biocides as well as harsher penalties for breaking the rules. The Government has until the end of July to come up with these rules.

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Romania Insider

27 May 2016