PHOENIX — A former Romanian public official convicted in his native country of money laundering, bribery and corruption charges was turned over to Romanian law enforcement authorities at the Bucharest airport Tuesday by officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Ioan Lascau, 57, was turned over to Romanian police at the Henri Coanda International Airport by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers. Lascau was convicted in a Romanian court in 2010 of money laundering, bribery and corruption violations committed while he served as the Director General of Public Finance in Bihor, Romania.
"This corrupt former public official thought he could evade justice in Romania by hiding in the United States," said Jon Gurule, acting field office director for ERO Phoenix. "As this case makes clear, ICE works closely with law enforcement agencies here and abroad to ensure convicted criminals are returned to their home countries in order to be held accountable for their actions."
According to Romanian court records, Lascau laundered approximately $3 million of Bihor county tax revenues for personal gain. After his conviction was upheld in March, Lascau fled to the U.S., just days before Interpol issued an international notice alerting authorities about his criminal history. In August, Romanian authorities issued an international warrant for Lascau's arrest.
Lascau's case came to ICE's attention through an ongoing partnership between ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)'s attaché office in Vienna and Romanian law enforcement authorities working at the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC) located in Bucharest. After learning Lascau was living in Phoenix, ERO officers arrested him May 20 and transferred him to the Eloy Detention Center, where he was placed in removal proceedings. On June 13, an immigration judge ordered Lascau removed to his native Romania.
Since Oct. 1, 2009, ERO has removed more than 566 foreign fugitives from the United States who were being sought in their native countries for serious crimes, including kidnapping, rape and murder. ERO works with ICE Homeland Security Investigations' Office of International Affairs, foreign consular offices in the United States and Interpol to identify foreign fugitives illegally present in the country.