Romanian bank owner Carabulea released from jail on parole after working at jail library

Romanian businessman Ilie Carabulea, the owner of Carpatica bank, who was jailed in April this year for bribery and trading influence, was recently released from jail on parole. Carabulea, who was sentenced to one and a half years in jail, was released for good behavior and for having worked in the Aiud jail’s library. The businessman spent some five months in jail.

The businessman had resigned from the helm of local lender Banca Carpatica, which he also founded. He is the main shareholder of the bank, with 46 percent of the shares. This is the biggest corruption case involving a Romanian businessman so far, and concerns one of the country’s wealthiest: Carabulea, 65, ranked 22nd in the Forbes 2010 ratings for Romania, with an estimated wealth of EUR 200 million. He owns Carpatica bank and the Atlassib group.

According to prosecutors, Carabulea paid a RON 4,000 ( the equivalent of some EUR 915 ) bribe to Florin Apostu, the former head of the Sibiu Prosecution for gaining support in promoting an appeal. Apostu let the businessman believe he had influence over Romania’s general prosecutor. In 2010, the Sibiu prosecutors were working on as many as 196 files on Carabulea’s firms. Ilie Carabulea also owns Atlassib holding, with activities in transport and leasing. Prosecutors also showed that Apostu used two Audi and VW cars between 2006 and 2010, both from Atlassib Leasing, for which the company paid the VAT and the down payment. Apostu was sentenced to five years in prison.

Carpatica bank is one of the few remaining Romanian banks active on the local market. The bank recorded a profit of some EUR 2.7 million in the first half of 2012, up from the loss registered during the same period of 2011. The banks runs 152 branches across Romania and had assets of some EUR 1.1 billion mid-2012.

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