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Former Romanian spy chief Radu Timofte dies

Former Romanian spy chief Radu Timofte dies

Romania's former spy chief Radu Timofte, who resigned in a case involving the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq, has died. He was 60.
Timofte died early Monday in a hospital, the Romanian Intelligence Service said in a statement. Daily Adevarul reported that Timofte had been suffering from leukemia.
Timofte was appointed to head the domestic Romanian Intelligence Service in 2001 by then-President Ion Iliescu.
He was forced to resign in 2006 when Omar Hayssam, a Syrian-born suspect in the 2005 kidnapping of the journalists, disappeared.
Hayssam had managed to secure release from a Bucharest prison arguing that he had cancer that could not be treated in prison, but was banned from leaving Romania. Newspapers later reported that Hayssam hid in a ship carrying sheep that sailed to Syria from a Black Sea port.
The three journalists were kidnapped in Iraq in 2005 and held by a group that demanded Romania withdraw its 700 troops from the country. They were freed after nearly two months in captivity following negotiations between Romanian authorities and the kidnappers. A Romanian court sentenced Hayssam to 20 years in prison for ordering the kidnapping of the journalists.
Hayssam never returned to Romania after his escape, leaving his Romanian wife and six children behind. There was speculation that the intelligence service knew about his plans to flee but did not intervene.
At the time of his death, Timofte was being investigated by anti-corruption prosecutors on suspicion of abusing his position to buy an apartment in Bucharest at a fraction of its market value. Supporters said the charges were politically motivated.
Timofte was one of the key members of the National Salvation Front that took power in Romania as communism collapsed in a bloody revolt in December 1989.
"Mr. Timofte ... was a model of devotion to his country and democratic values," the Romanian Intelligence Service said in a statement.
He is survived by his wife and three children.

Updated : 2022-05-28 23:47 GMT+08:00