Israeli convicted for targeting Romania's anti-corruption chief

BUCHAREST: An Israeli employee of private intelligence firm Black Cube was convicted in Romania Wednesday of trying to intimidate the country's crusading anti-corruption chief.

David Geclowicz was ordered to serve 80 days of community service and given a suspended jail sentence of two years and eight months, Agerpres news agency reported, for targeting three people close to Laura Kovesi, the head of Romania's National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA).

Geclowicz pleaded guilty for undertaking what prosecutors called a campaign of "harassment" to destabilise Kovesi's team with "multiple threatening telephone calls" and email "piracy" aimed at "uncovering evidence of possible corruption" by Kovesi.

Another Black Cube employee, Ron Weiner, has also pleaded guilty, and the court will hand down his sentence on Nov 28. A third Black Cube employee based in Israel is the subject of a Romanian arrest warrant.

Black Cube bills itself as a "select group of veterans from the Israeli elite intelligence units", and its website lists former Mossad director, Meir Dagan, who died earlier this year, as its honorary president.

Kovesi has spearheaded an unprecedented campaign against graft in Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007 but has come under pressure from Brussels to root out systemic corruption.

The bellwether corruption conviction in 2012 of ex-prime minister Adrian Nastase was a sign times were changing in the EU's second-poorest country.

Last month a former Romanian minister was jailed in a corruption case, while eight other former ministers are caught up in other graft scandals.

This is not the first time Kovesi has been targeted by critics. In September a former Romanian secret service agent was arrested for allegedly masterminding an operation to intimidate Kovesi in order to avenge his being fired last year following a DNA investigation. — AFP