Romania’s Baia Mare mayor taken in for questioning after alleged bribery sting

The mayor of Baia Mare Catalin Chereches was taken in for questioning by the anticorruption prosecutors after he was allegedly caught red handed while taking a bribe in a sting operation organized by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) on Tuesday, April 26.


The charges against Chereches include bribery and embezzlement and are related to the financings granted to private football club FCM Baia Mare by the local authorities, according to judicial sources quoted by Digi 24.

The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has made no official announcement about this case.

Catalin Chereches wrote about this in a Facebook page claiming that the action against him was organized by his local opponents to get him out of the race before the local elections. He said he had paid bonuses to the FCM Baia Mare football club’s players from his own pockets and that he supported the team financially so that it would continue to play for the fans in the city.

“This morning, Cristian Span came to return a small amount of the money I had borrowed to him so that the club wouldn’t die. I had the DNA prosecutors at my door,” Chereches wrote. He also said that he was only guilty of trying to support the local sports and culture from his own resources.

The DNA indicted Chereches for alleged corruption offenses related to the financing of local handball club HCM Baia Mare, in October 2015. The anticorruption prosecutors also started an investigation against Chereches, in June 2013, accusing him of bribery and money laundering for favoring five private companies in getting public contracts with the Baia Mare city hall.

Catalin Chereches, 37, has been elected mayor of Baia Mare in May 2011 and reelected in June 2012. He recently announced that he would run for a new mandate.

Baia Mare is the biggest city in Romania’s Maramures region, with a population of some 120,000 people.


26 April 2016