Romanian mayor suspected of using police to spy on rivals

AP News
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Posted: May 01, 2015 3:03 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian police have detained the mayor of a northeastern city on suspicion that he abused his position by using police to spy on rivals and his girlfriend.

The anti-corruption department said Gheorghe Nichita, the mayor of Iasi, was detained Friday. A court ruled he would be investigated under judicial control, meaning he is banned from leaving the city and has to report to police. He was questioned for seven hours Thursday about suspicions that he used local police officers to spy and report on people in Iasi, the most important city in northeastern Romania.

Three senior police officers from Iasi were also detained. Nichita, mayor since 2003, is a member of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

Media published prosecutors' documents and transcripts Friday that allegedly showed him using police to keep his girlfriend, a city hall employee, under surveillance. In April, he is alleged to have asked a police officer to install a surveillance application on her mobile phone.

Prosecutors said from January to April, Nichita abusively obtained confidential information, using police and city hall employees, for personal gain.

A crackdown on Romanian officials suspected of corruption has been underway for several months.