Florin Popescu used his position to secure 60 tonnes of fried chicken in order to keep his seat
A member of the Romanian parliament will serve a two-year prison sentence after being found guilty of bribing his constituents with fried chicken. Florin Popescu served his electorate 60 tonnes of chicken to entice their support to keep his council seat in a local election that took place before he became a parliamentary politician.
Nicknamed the ‘Chicken Baron’ by the Romanian media, Popescu has been sentenced with the condition of no parole. The court also dismissed his appeal, with anti-corruption investigators having proved the politician had exploited his position to procure €110,000 worth of fried chicken from a meat producer.
“On April 5th, 2012 several people sent by Florin Popescu loaded the fried chicken into vans and took it to various locations where it was distributed,” the investigators said. “All the packages of chicken were distributed for election purposes.”
The investigation was launched after the chicken producer tipped off the authorities. Popescu resigned from his seat in the chamber of deputies earlier this month, vowing to do all he could to ensure the integrity of Romanian democracy.
“Politics is a sweet rose, but it can sometimes have a bitter taste,” he said.
Transparency International's interactive Global Corruption Perception Index
Romania has a reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union, which granted the former Eastern bloc state membership in 2007. Since then, the country and its administration has heightened its efforts to crack down on corruption, resulting in the high-profile convictions of numerous leading figures in the business community, as well as a former prime minister and economic minister.
Despite these efforts, the country came 58th in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Perception Index for 2015, with only Italy and Bulgaria deemed to be more corrupt. In the same study, Ireland was judged to be the 18th least corrupt country in the index.