Fugitive Romanian politician, prosecutor held in Costa Rica

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 file photo, Elena Udrea touches her nose after delivering a speech in parliament pleading with fellow lawmakers not to approve her arrest in Bucharest, Romania. A Romanian politician and a former chief prosecutor who fled to Costa Rica before they could be sentenced for crimes committed while in office have been arrested in the Central American country said. Costa Rica's Interpol office said former Romanian Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, who was convicted in Romania of bribery and official misconduct, was arrested in San Jose on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. The ex-prosecutor, Alina Bica, was convicted of abuse of office and the left Romania with Udrea, a friend. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian politician and a former chief prosecutor who fled to Costa Rica before they could be sentenced for crimes committed while in office have been arrested, police in the Central American country said.

Former Romanian Tourism Minister Elena Udrea, who was convicted in Romania of bribery and official misconduct, was arrested in San Jose on Wednesday, Costa Rica’s Interpol office said.

The ex-prosecutor, Alina Bica, also was detained Wednesday. Bica was convicted of abuse of office and left Romania with Udrea, a friend.

In June, Bica was sentenced in absentia to four years in prison, while Udrea received a six-year sentence.

Defense lawyer Veronel Radulescu said he thinks Udrea won’t be extradited because she recently gave birth to a child. Speaking Thursday in Romania’s capital, Radulescu said: “Chances are zero in my opinion.”

Udrea had a high-powered political career largely due to her connection with ex-President Traian Basescu.

Prosecutors said she illegally sponsored a gala with ministry funds featuring a boxing match and took a 10-percent commission from the fighters’ contracts. She denied wrongdoing and called for a retrial.

Bica, the former chief prosecutor for the Romanian agency that investigates organized crime and terrorism, was convicted of instructing subordinates to be lenient with two suspects.

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