Romania detains 1 for giving 'false information' to Sky News

AP News
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Posted: Aug 11, 2016 4:21 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian organized crime prosecutors on Thursday detained a man they allege appeared in a British television news report claiming that gangs are trafficking guns in Romania.

Atilla Csaba Pantics was detained on suspicion of being complicit to communicating false information, being in a criminal group and illegally possessing weapons, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say three other men featured this week in a Sky News report entitled "Gang selling AK-47s 'Bound for Western Europe'" also face charges.

The report, where reporters met alleged illegal arms dealers in a remote corner of Romania who said they would sell weapons to terrorists, has caused a furor in Romania.

Mihaela Porime, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' agency, told The Associated Press that five Romanians have been questioned and had their homes searched where legal hunting guns were found.

Porime says the investigation revealed that Sky paid an intermediary 1,000 euros ($1,100), while the other four were paid 1,000 euros between them.

Sky News Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay denies payment was made.

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos added his voice to the controversy Thursday saying it was "unacceptable .... to denigrate a country without proof."

Chief organized crime prosecutor Daniel Horodniceanu called the report "a setup by British journalists."