The Hague, 19 January 2023
Supported by Eurojust, judicial and law enforcement authorities in Romania and the Republic of Moldova have taken coordinated action against border officials who allegedly demanded and accepted bribery to facilitate the illegal passage of vehicles transporting passengers or parcels.
During an action day, 8 suspects were detained and 45 locations were searched across Romania and the Republic of Moldova. Eurojust provided assistance to the Romanian and Moldovan judicial authorities in setting up and funding a joint investigation team (JIT).
Based on the evidence at hand, the national investigative authorities suspect that certain border guards and customs officials working at the Romanian/Moldovan and Romanian/Hungarian border crossing points have been demanding and receiving bribes from individuals involved in the cross-border transport of passengers and/or parcels without the necessary authorisations, in exchange for allowing these illicit border crossings to take place.
Bribes were also allegedly received or accepted in exchange for allowing the border passage of Moldovan citizens who overstayed their EU residency, without applying the legally stipulated sanctions for these situations. The bribes received were allegedly worth up to EUR 500.
The provision of counterfeit work contracts and counterfeit Romanian ID documents by Moldovan suspects is also suspected and subject to investigation. These items were allegedly used to facilitate the fraudulent crossing of State borders by individuals who did not meet the necessary legal requirements.
During the joint action day carried out in Romania and the Republic of Moldova on 17 January, 45 searches were carried out. Furthermore, eight suspects were detained and will be presented to the judge with arrest proposals.
In addition to supporting the establishment of the JIT and providing it with funding, Eurojust actively facilitated the international judicial cooperation by organising a coordination meeting, facilitating the exchange of relevant information and evidence under the JIT, and facilitating the execution of two European investigation orders issued towards a State not participating in the JIT.
The following authorities took part in the investigation:
- Romania: National Anticorruption Directorate, General Anticorruption Direction within the Romanian Police
- Republic of Moldova: Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, Anticorruption and Internal Protection Service