Romania’s prison literature: Local businessman investigated for plagiarism

Romanian businessman George Copos faces prosecution for plagiarism after allegedly copying a scientific work he published while in jail to benefit from early release, according to local Mediafax.

Copos served 423 days in prison of a 4-year sentence. When they decided to release him on parole, in April 2015, the judges deducted 52 days of work Copos did while in jail and 150 days for the five books he wrote in that period.

One of the books, which is called Matrimonial Alliances in the Policy of Romanian Prices in Wallachia and Moldova in the XIV-XVI centuries (in Romanian – Alianţe matrimoniale în politica principilor români din Ţara Românească şi Moldova in secolele XIV-XVI) was apparently plagiarized. This one book equaled with 30 days deducted out of Copos’ sentence.

The Bucharest University’s Ethics Committee announced in January this year that this book that Copos published while in jail was a “subtle plagiarism made through disguised copying and/or rewriting”. The same committee said that there were clear hints that George Copos couldn’t have written such a paper and so he couldn’t be credited as its author, according to Hotnews.ro.

The scandal started when a young Romanian historian, Catalin Parfene, said that Copos had plagiarized his dissertation, which he had presented at Bucharest University’s History Faculty in 2005. Moreover, the professor who helped Parfene with his paper also wrote the preface to Copos’ book.

Famous Romanian footballer Gica Popescu, who shared a cell with Copos in the period both were incarcerated for illegal player transfer transactions, was called to answer to the prosecutors as a witness in Copos’ plagiarizing case. Popescu was also released on parole after spending over 18 months in jail from a sentence of 3 years and one month. He also wrote and published four books to reduce his incarceration.

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