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Budusan & Associates on being a white-collar defence and compliance practice in Romania

Established in 2008 as a private practice intended to mirror the increasingly organised, staffed and sophisticated investigative tools of the prosecution, the core services of Budusan & Associates consist in the integrated management of business crime cases, whether from a defensive standpoint, or by serving the needs of crime victims when seeking compensation from offenders or other responsible parties, as well as from a pre-emptive perspective, intended to identify and mitigate criminal law risks that may arise in the course of business activities.

The firm’s white-collar defence and compliance practice only handles a select variety of criminal defence issues. The firm does not handle street crime, and selects its elite crime cases (political actors, high-profile state officials and dignitaries, industrialists etc) based on a thorough, case-to-case analysis. The firm represents corporations, boards of directors, executives, and public officials in criminal and related regulatory enforcement proceedings in Romania, or with Romanian ties.

Since its set-up, the firm has provided legal services in a vast majority of the local high-profile business crime and corruption cases. The firm’s professional activity is defined by a combined legal and procedural approach to cases, integrating various branches of law (in consideration of the regulatory framework of the industry targeted by the investigation), as well as fields of expertise (through a well-established collaboration with reputed experts and specialists providing a skilled perspective on technical issues of the legal matter).

While staying focused on the needs of the clients, the firm is well-known for its coherent, client-tailored procedural strategy, designed to maximise the chances of the best possible outcome of judicial procedures.

Led by former high-ranking prosecutor, Mr Ovidiu Budusan, the firm continued to register successful outcomes in high-profile court cases. During the Covid pandemic, the firm honoured its professional commitment by providing uninterrupted, efficient legal advice and assistance to clients remotely, while also handling court representation in urgent matters (including during the total or partial lockdown).

For example, in 2021, the firm continued to handle high-profile corruption cases involving a former minister and MP, the shareholders of a major Romanian retailer, as well as major EU funds fraud cases in infrastructure and food industries, tax evasion cases in the food and beverages industry, as well as professional offences committed in Romania against global companies.

Budusan is the founding partner of the firm and a highly experienced litigator. The professional experience acquired as prosecutor-in-chief of the Division for the Prosecution of Corruption and Organised Crime (later reorganised into PNA/DNA and DIICOT) within the prosecutor’s office of the Supreme Court of Justice (now PICCJ), as well as his subsequent prolific practice as attorney-at-law, recommend Budusan as one of the leading criminal defence attorneys in Romania.

Budusan manages defence in complex cases dealing with business crime charges in industries such as banking and finance, energy, oil and gas, IT, media, capital markets, pharmaceuticals, food industry, infrastructure, as well as charges of tax evasion and corruption offences.

Budusan also has a wealth of experience in the field of human rights, especially in the context of criminal and ancillary procedures, and has a notable track record of cases where individuals, companies or professional associations challenged the unjustified interferences of state authority in the exercise of fundamental rights, both before national courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

Liana Iacob is a partner in the firm since 2014. Her fields of expertise include fraud against the financial interests of the European Union, public procurement fraud, corruption and professional offences, tax evasion, financial and insurance fraud, embezzlement, corporate fraud and intellectual property crime. Iacob has managed complex cases of fraud in the financial and banking industry; she has provided legal consultancy and assistance to important corporate clients in the IT sector, in energy, real-estate, the food industry and financial services. She also practiced commercial and contract law, IPR, oil and gas, court litigations and represented clients in ECHR procedures.

Florentina Frumușanu is a partner with Budusan & Associates. She specialises in cases of tax evasion, accounting offences, capital market crimes, offences against the customs regime and intellectual property law, offshore transactions, corruption offences, corporate fraud and fraud against the financial interests of the European Union. Frumușanu gathered experience as an in-house lawyer in a multinational oil group, where she advised regarding corporate, capital markets, intellectual property and environmental law, on matters concerning commercial contracts and negotiations, environmental conformity, capital market transactions, public-private partnerships, projects and public acquisition procedures for infrastructure projects.

Having joined Budusan & Associates as partner after years of fruitful collaboration, George Toniuc is an experienced, skilled litigator, with a keen understanding of the investigative procedures and court process, and with a balanced, client-oriented approach. With nearly 20 years of experience, Toniuc assisted and represented both industry, and individual clients in complex criminal matters, handled by specialised prosecutorial units. Toniuc also practiced corporate and industry law, in fields such as international transactions, oil and gas and aviation.

In addition to our white-collar experience, our lawyers draw upon their prior experience in other core practice areas, including corporate and securities, finance, accounting and tax, pharmaceutical industry, and energy industry. Clients also benefit from the firm’s commanding presence on the Romanian market for over a decade, and of the firm’s depth of experience counselling clients facing high-profile investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Our lawyers have collectively tried hundreds of major cases to verdict, defence lawyers, at all levels of the Romanian justice system. These trials include the following types of representative matters:

  • Public and private corruption;
  • Money laundering;
  • Professional and corporate offences;
  • Bank fraud;
  • Tax evasion;
  • Bankruptcy fraud;
  • Health care fraud;
  • Insider trading;
  • Privatisation;
  • Environmental and QHSE.

The firm has conducted or has assisted in internal investigations for private companies, boards of directors, audit committees and special committees relating to allegations of criminal misconduct. This practice includes counselling clients on the issues that frequently arise during internal investigations, including the decision of whether to voluntarily disclose information to law enforcement or, as the case may be, regulatory agencies, the strategic considerations arising from parallel government inquiries, and or parallel government inquiries and private litigation, employment law issues and communications with auditors.

The firm regularly represents companies and individuals in matters involving the Romanian corrupt practices law, including internal investigations into alleged Romanian corrupt practices law violations, National Anticorruption Directorate (‘DNA’) investigations, assets freezing procedures, as well as enforcement proceedings. Our capabilities in this area are strengthened by a wealth of experience in the field of EU funds regulatory and prosecution investigations, at both national level, and that of the European anti-fraud office. Based on this experience, the firm is ready to handle defence in investigations of the European Prosecution Office (‘EPPO’), the independent prosecution body intended to tackle serious crimes against EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud, end of 2020.

Given the wide interpretation of the notion of organised crime under national law, the firm regularly represents companies and individuals in white-collar investigations handed by the Romanian highly specialised prosecution body, Directorate for Infringements of Organized Crime and Terrorism (‘DIICOT’), as well as asset freezing and enforcement procedures. Such matters may include sophisticated tax fraud, embezzlement, fraud and false claims, security offences, corporate and professional offences, committed by an organised crime ring of three or more individuals.

Over the last year, the firm granted legal assistance and representation to a food and beverages company, indicted in a complex case of tax evasion with an estimated damage of approx €3m, as well as money laundering of an amount of approx €10m, allegedly intended for corrupt practices (in connection with high government officials, namely, ministers); managed the defence in a high-profile tax evasion case in the media field, with an estimated damage of approx €10m, as well as in a major tax evasion case concerning a railroad infrastructure company and an estimated damage of €2m. The firm handled, also, a complex case of criminal infringements on intellectual property rights, with an estimated damage exceeding €100m, as well as the associated civil claims. In 2021, the firm managed the criminal court case concerning the bankruptcy of Romanian top insurance company, ASTRA S.A., dealing with economic and professional offences, as well as estimated damages in the range of €200m, ending in final acquittal of the firm’s client by the High Court of Cassation and Justice; as well as a complex case of bank fraud committed against the firm’s client, with a loss of approx €8m, ending in a seven-year conviction and granting of all civil claims for our bank client. The firm currently handles the court case concerning alleged corruption offences committed by a former member of the government (minister).

Ovidiu Budusan
Managing partner
Tel/Fax: +4 021 230 5088/
+4 021 316 8394
M: +4 072 267 7125

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