A Romanian MP will serve two years behind bars for bribing his electorate with fried chicken.
Enlisting the help of supporters Florin Popescu distributed 60 tonnes of chicken to voters in an attempt to win another term as a council leader in local elections dating back to 2012 before he entered parliament.
A Bucharest court placed the condition of no parole on Popescu’s sentence while also rejecting an appeal by the disgraced politician during the culmination of a case that won him the mocking nickname the “Chicken Baron”.
Anti-corruption investigators had found that Popescu had abused his high position in local politics to secure a supply of fried chicken worth around £85,000 from a producer.
“On April 5, 2012 several people sent by Florin Popescu loaded the fried chicken into vans and took it to various locations where it was distributed,” investigators said. “All the packages of chicken were distributed for election purposes.”
The case had come to light after the chicken producer reported Popescu to the authorities.
The politician resigned his seat earlier this month in order, he said, to protect the honour and reputation of parliament. “Politics is a sweet rose but it can sometimes have a bitter taste,” he continued, adding that all men were “both good and bad.”
Regarded as one of Europe’s most corrupt countries Romania has stepped up efforts to crack down on the scourge of corruption in recent years, imprisoning a number of leading businessmen and politicians including a former prime minister and an ex-economy minister.
The country came 58th in Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Perception Index 2015” the third lowest position for an EU state with only Italy and Bulgaria beneath it.
Despite the number of high-profile cases and an apparent willingness in the authorities to root up corruption many Romanians complain that it remains endemic in the country end.