A former Romanian secret service agent has been arrested for allegedly masterminding an operation that used an Israeli private intelligence firm to intimidate a key anti-corruption official, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Daniel Dragomir is accused of trying to target people “he considered responsible” for his prosecution in 2015 on charges including money laundering.
He is alleged to have asked a representative of Israeli firm Black Cube to hack the email of people including Laura Kovesi, head of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), in the hope of finding compromising information, prosecutors said.
Kovesi, a 42-year-old former professional basketball player, is spearheading an unprecedented anti-corruption drive in one of Europe’s poorest and most graft-prone nations.
Probes by the DNA have cost a string of prominent Romanians their jobs in recent years.
If successful, Dragomir allegedly planned to try and have the information he uncovered published in foreign media, prosecutors said.
According to judicial sources cited by Romanian media, Dragomir was also acting on behalf of several other people also being investigated by the DNA who shared his desire for revenge.
These co-conspirators were alleged to be willing to pay contributions of 900,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to the Israeli firm, according to the news website HotNews.ro.
In April, two Black Cube workers were arrested for trying to intimidate Kovesi and hacking emails.
The two arrested Black Cube workers are suspected of harassing three people close to Kovesi, making “numerous threatening telephone calls and hacking into emails.”
They are also thought to have hacked into the emails of Kovesi’s friends and relatives, according to judicial sources.
Black Cube confirmed at the time that the two had been arrested, but denied wrongdoing by its employees.
In a statement given to TOT the company said its employees were themselves investigating claims of corruption by the Romanian government.
Black Cube utilizes experts “highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,” according to the company website.
Former Mossad director Meir Dagan was honorary president of Black Cube until his death in March.