Arrest Warrants, the New Side Effect of Bird Flu

A former director in Romania’s Department of Transportation and the owner of a boutique company in Iaşi, Romania, have been placed in preventive custody for 29 days, accused of having defrauded millions of Euros during the 2006 bird flu scare in Romania. Victor Butean is the former head of the Sanitary-Veterinarian Direction within the Public Health Agency of the Romanian Department of Transportation. He is now being investigated under suspicions of taking bribes, forming a criminal organisation and money laundering.

According to the investigators, he put pressure on decision makers under his authority, in 2006, in order to compell them to award contracts for disease control and prevention to Lena SRL, a small firm in Iaşi, without a formal tender and at a much higher price. The company, claim prosecutors, had neither the experience, nor the personell or the equipment to do any of the above, but the company carried out contracts in value of around 6 million Euros. Tonel Butean, the manager of the said company, turned himself over to the police in Iaşi on Sunday evening, claiming innocence.

The 2006 bird flu scare in Romania turned a good pard of the South-East of the country into a “contamination area” that was kept under containment for months. As soldiers were rounding up and slaughtering all the poultry in the villages, hundreds of sanitary checkpoints were set up all over the main roads, disinfecting all vehicles that went through. Other agents would be spraying a “special de-contamination sollution” on roadsides and households. Suspicions arose even then, as the media reported how the claimed “sollution” was, in fact, tap water or Danube water.

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