Romania’s anticorruption prosecutors started criminal proceedings and imposed judicial control for 60 days against five people, including a former manager of Microsoft Romania. The case is linked to alleged overpriced software licenses bought by the Communications Ministry from an association of companies, including Microsoft and D.Con-Net.
Not only companies are investigated in relation to the case. Actually, the prosecutors are also looking into the involvement of two former directors in the Communications Ministry, who have been accused of abuse of office. Microsoft Romania’s former manager was accused of complicity to abuse of office. The high profile case also involves former communication minister, Gabriel Sandu, as prosecutors asked the country’s president to grant the approval for the authorities to start their investigation against Sandu. Other former officials were also associated to the case.
The case has been widely debated in the media, being linked to the Romanian Communications Ministry’s decision to buy IT licenses from Microsoft in a contract signed in 2009. The second company involved in the case is D.Con-Net, whom Microsoft insisted to work with. Tatomir actually denied working with any other potential bidder that could supply Microsoft’s licenses to the state, so the Ministry finally decided to award the contract to D.Con-Net. Allegedly, Microsoft’s managing director set restrictive conditions to the deal and Tatomir was also the one who brought D.Con-Net to the association of companies working with the state.
The state paid EUR 90 million to the company, but D.Con-Net paid only EUR 38.8 million to Microsoft. Thus, the damages suffered by the state amount to about EUR 50 million. It has been claimed that in order to help D.Con-Net to win the public tender, two of the company’s representatives actually gave the minister of communications no less than EUR 2.2 million, receiving preferential treatment in exchange.
The corruption case is definitely one of the largest such cases in Romania, as no less than nine former ministers have been accused of corruption in relation to this scandal.