Elena Udrea, the Romanian tourism minister sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of power and bribery in her country, has been in Costa Rica since last February 7 and claims to have received political refuge, Romanian media reported.

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Costa Rica’sDirección de Migración y Extranjería (immigration service) confirmed this Saturday that Udrea entered on February 7 of this year, without registering any exit. However, the authority did not confirm the Romanian’s immigration status.

Udrea is in the middle of a trial, after the appeal of his sentence before the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania.

From Digi24.ro Foto: Inquam Photos/Liviu Florin Albei

On Friday, Udrea’s lawyer told Romanian authorities that Udrea received political refugee status in Costa Rica, although that version was dismissed by the judge. The lawyer also told the five magistrates that Udrea also had a residence in Costa Rica.

According to Digi24, one of the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate said that Udrea made a request for refuge in Costa Rica in February and that, in March, she had an interview, but that the documents did not point to the fact that he had already obtained permanent status. “The documents issued by the Costa Rican authorities do not reveal that Elena Udrea has been granted political refugee status, she has only requested this status,” said the court statement.

From Costa Rica, Elena Udrea has confirmed to Romanian media that she is in this country. Over the phone, he gave an interview to Antena 3 a month ago.

Udrea is linked by the illegal financing of a boxing gala in 2011, while she was a minister.  Udrea claims she has been persecuted for this since 2015, and after a journalistic investigation; was sentenced in first instance in March 2017.

Political refugees in Costa Rica could lose that status if they return to the country from which they seek to escape.

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