Crime

PM appointee resigns over false high school diploma

On September 4, Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban appointed Laurențiu Barangă as the new president of the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering. However, Barangă, the supposed former Deputy Director of the National Registry Office for Classified Information (ORNISS), resigned last Thursday after being accused of fraud: He falsified his high school graduation diploma in order to get jobs in public office. Barangă was arrested at home on Saturday, detained for 24 hours, and is now under house arrest.

“The person in question is being investigated for misleading several public institutions, by submitting in his employment file falsified documents regarding his education, which were subsequently abolished by the competent courts,” Digi24 quoted the Romanian Police. The police also specified that based on the false documents, the investigated person has occupied an important position at a public institute, works at universities, and currently holds a high-ranking public position, causing RON 640,000 (EUR 130,000) worth of damage in allowances received from some employers.

But apparently finishing high school is not the only thing Laurențiu Barangă lied about in his CV: The National Registry Office for Classified Information (ORNISS) has released a communiqué saying that Barangă has not worked at ORNISS in the last four years. According to the registry, his contract was suspended from October 1, 2016, until September 30, 2019, and his employment contract with ORNISS ended on October 1, 2019. The registry also stressed that Barangă was never the deputy director of the institute, despite saying in his CV that he led the registry for 11 years, starting in 2009.

Laurențiu Barangă, according to his CV, has finished high school at the age of 32. Photo: Digi24

Romanian news portal Pressone.ro has published other information about Barangă, who, per his CV, finished high school at the age of 32 and started working in the public sphere at 41. According to Pressone, Barangă not only did not graduate from high school and was never the deputy director of ORNISS, but exactly one year after the Bucharest Court of Appeal annulled his baccalaureate diploma, Barangă reached the top of the university hierarchy, becoming a university professor at the University of Târgovişte Wallachia and a doctoral supervisor at the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) of Bucharest.

According to his CV, Barangă obtained his PhD in Management from the University of Târgovişte Wallachia in 2011 and became an associate professor at the university a year later. However, in 2016, the Bucharest Court of Appeal definitely annulled 19 documents of Barangă’s, including his high school diploma, his BA diploma and his PhD. Despite the fact he never finished his studies, Barangă submitted to become a doctoral supervisor at the USAMV led by the former Minister of Education, Sorin Cîmpeanu, in 2017. The public defense of his thesis entitled “Management and social responsibility in agricultural units” took place in April the same year.

The National Council for Attestation of University Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates verified the file submitted by Mr. Barangă, so in September 2017, Minister of Education Liviu Pop signed the decree that allowed Barangă to supervise PhDs in the field of “Engineering and management in agriculture and rural development.” Sorin Cîmpeanu, the rector of the university, told Pressone that the “collaboration” with Barangă ended on September 30, 2020, following a notification from the Police.

Still, also in 2017, only three months after his “collaboration” at USAMV started, Dr. Laurențiu Barangă applied for a position as a university professor at the University of Târgovişte, which he received. The first mandatory document in the file submitted by the university professor included a declaration of one’s responsibility “regarding the veracity of the information presented in the file,” Pressone.ro says.

Title image: Laurențiu Barangă, escorted on Saturday evening by the police from the exit of the headquarters of the Romanian Police. On Sunday, he was ordered to remain under house arrest for 30 days. Photo: Octav Ganea/Inquam Photos

Author: Orsi Sarány