Romania: senior banker under house arrest in graft probe

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) " The deputy governor of Romania's central bank has been put under house arrest on suspicion that he engaged in influence-peddling, illicitly receiving 1 million euros ($1.1 million) when he was parliament speaker, anti-corruption prosecutors said Friday.

Bogdan Olteanu was initially detained and a court later ordered he be put under a 30-day house arrest warrant amid an investigation into allegations he asked for and received the money from a businessman from July-November 2008 in return for persuading the government to appoint a certain governor for the Danube Delta.

Olteanu resigned Friday afternoon, hours after the central bank said Olteanu's duties would be taken over by other officials. He said he did not want the bank "to be dragged into a media scandal."

The businessman, Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, was sentenced last week to six years and two months in prison for money laundering and embezzlement.

Journalist Liviu Mihaiu, who worked for a publication owned by Vantu, was governor of the delta from September 2008 to February 2009. Shortly after he was appointed, Mihaiu authorized gas stations in the delta for Petromservice, a petroleum-facility maintenance company controlled by Vantu. On Friday, Mihaiu denied wrongdoing.

Olteanu was appointed deputy governor of the National Bank of Romania in 2009. He was speaker of the Chamber of Deputies from 2006 to 2008.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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