Major raids at Romanian customs. Suspects brought to Bucharest by helicopters. Minister questions trade union leaders
A series of major raids took place at five customs points in Romania starting Tuesday Morning. The points have been monitored for several months as investigators tried to collect enough evidence to prove a series of crimes. Customs checks were halted on both sides of the border.
?The raids took place at Moravita, Cruceni, Severin, Deta and Naidas.
The Stamora Moravita point was reopened two hours after it was closed as checks in offices continued. An hour later the Naidas point was also opened. According to Realitatea TV news channel, the suspects in Naidas and Moravita were carried to Bucharest by helicopter. Inquiries were due to start in the afternoon.
Some 1,200 officers took part in the raids among customs officers and border police suspect of taking bribes and allowing cigarette trafficking from Serbia.
The operation against corruption at Romania's customs points was launched with phone interceptions some six months ago.
Raids also took place in customs offices in Bucharest and the counties of Arges, Galati, Olt, Ilfov, Maramures, Suceava, Dolg, Giurgiu, Timis and Dambovita. Some 150 people are targeted, including about 100 border police officers, about 30 customs officers as well as traffickers.
Romanian Interior minister Traian igas said on Tuesday that it appeared that some trade union leaders might be connected to what was happening at Romania's border points. "We want to know whether union leaders are with us in fighting tax dodgers or with those involved in crimes", he said the day when the General Anti-corruption Department launched the rides.
- Market Entry to Romania : news