Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photoshopping mayor faces fraud inquiry

A Romanian mayor who Photoshopped pictures of happy swimmers into a half-built swimming pool to justify a £1.5 million EU grant is facing a fraud inquiry in Bihor, Romania. Town Hall leader Dorel Talpos submitted pictures showing smiling swimmers in crystal clear water to government officials to show the cash had been spent properly.

In a report on the project the mayor said "the refurbished swimming pool spans 10 hectares and has a parking lot, alleys, sports fields, a fully restored sewage network and other amenities." But an investigation into the pool has revealed that it has never opened and isn't even connected to the water mains and drains.

Swimming pool changing rooms were a crumbling barn that had been given a whitewash - and the toilets were not even built. Suspicious Tourism Ministry aides began the inquiry when they noticed the pool water seemed to be in sunnier weather than the rest of the picture, with conditions in the water more like on a Caribbean beach.

"It looked odd and the more we looked the less we found of the pool," one official explained. Mayor Talpos denies any wrong-doing.

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