161750 7/11/2008 14:09 08BUCHAREST560 Embassy Bucharest UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY 07BUCHAREST1301 VZCZCXRO5095 PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG DE RUEHBM #0560/01 1931409 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 111409Z JUL 08 ZDK FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8479 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 000560
DOS FOR EUR/NCE DOC FOR KNAJDI DHS FOR SECRET SERVICE
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: EINT, EFIN, EINV, ECON, PGOV, KCRM, KIPR, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIA: U.S. COMPANIES ENGAGE ON CYBER CRIME
REF: 07 BUCHAREST 1301
Sensitive but Unclassified; not for Internet Distribution.
1. (SBU) Summary. As part of an initiative spearheaded by eBay, representatives of several American financial services, software, and e-business companies visited Bucharest on June 10th and 11th, 2008 to discuss ways to enhance existing cooperation with the Romanian authorities in combating financial crime, cyber fraud, and computer piracy. The group identified the need to focus on specific cases, increase law enforcement capacity through additional training, and begin a public outreach program to change the Romanian mindset when it comes to cyber and financial crime. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Post, in particular through the offices of the U.S. Secret Service and Legal Attache, has had long-standing cooperative programs with Romanian law enforcement to improve the Romanians' ability to investigate and prosecute cyber crime and other types of financial fraud. These efforts were intensified in late 2007 and early 2008 to successfully track and arrest (in April) notorious suspected hacker "Vladuz" for repeated cyber attacks on eBay corporate systems and customers. The Vladuz case (reported reftel) required extensive, close coordination with eBay, and seeking to build on that experience, eBay undertook to organize a follow-up visit by a wider group of U.S. companies concerned about cyber crime and other forms of fraud connected to Romania. The group wished to explore specific ways the private sector could assist and complement training programs for Romanian officials, and to seek opportunities for joint public outreach on the dangers and social harm caused by cyber crime. Joining eBay executives in the visit were representatives of MasterCard, Visa, American Express, PayPal, Skype, Microsoft, and Western Union.
3. (SBU) In an opening briefing with relevant Embassy offices, the group members laid out some of their primary concerns with regard to Romania. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express presented a united position that Romania-linked criminal elements throughout Europe and the United States are responsible for a substantial portion of their fraud losses, particularly in connection with Internet transactions. They noted that they have been able to trace illicit money flows directly back to Romania, and expressed a desire to work with Romanian authorities on mechanisms for seizing these ill-gotten assets. While agreeing that cooperation with law enforcement in actual cases must remain a priority, eBay (together with PayPal, Skype, and Microsoft) emphasized the need to change the tone of the conversation in Romania - focusing on law enforcement training and more public outreach.
4. (SBU) Subsequently the group met at Victoria Palace in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister's State Counselor and Director of the Cabinet, Mihnea Constantinescu, with several GOR agencies represented. In welcoming the group, Constantinescu said the GOR had learned from the Vladuz case that it needs to strengthen public-private sector cooperation in combating cyber crime, both in terms of law enforcement as well as raising public awareness of the problem, particularly among Romania's youth. The companies described in some detail the fraud problems they have connected to Romania, stressing this was not a criticism but a reality. Constantinescu acknowledged the companies' frustrations in dealing with the Romanian bureaucracy and said he wanted to work with them to create a new framework for cooperation that would encompass both law enforcement and outreach elements. The companies outlined proposals to work with various GOR agencies on law enforcement and prosecutorial training, recommended changes to the criminal code, and a public outreach strategy. Constantinescu welcomed the training assistance and suggested the companies work with the GOR to organize a joint forum on cyber crime as a first step in outreach efforts.
5. (SBU) The group also held meetings with Prosecutor General Laura Kovesi and with the organized crime division of the National Police. During these meetings the group committed to provide additional training for the police and prosecutors, focused on teaching Romanian law enforcement about their corporate systems and developing best practices for sharing relevant information in future cases. Kovesi assured the group that she wanted to work closely with them, but explained that there are some real limitations in Romanian law, one being that all personal assets are presumed to be legitimate unless a prosecutor can prove they were illegally acquired. This sets a high bar for any asset seizures. As a way to move forward, Kovesi encouraged the group to propose amendments to the Romanian criminal code. She believed that a joint effort on the
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part of multinational corporations would allow her to submit the proposed code changes to the Justice Ministry as an "urgent" ordinance, increasing the likelihood that the changes would be quickly adopted.
6. (SBU) Comment: As an outgrowth of long-standing USG efforts to assist and train Romanian authorities in the battle against cyber crime, this June visit marks an important milestone in strengthening our efforts by more directly involving a broader mix from the private sector. Post's objective is to foster a continuing dialogue among the corporate victims of financial and cyber fraud, USG agencies and their Romanian Government counterparts, and Romanian civil society to combat this proliferating and highly damaging form of organized criminal activity. While the group expressed a disparate range of priorities and interests, it is a hopeful sign that they were able to cooperate on an agenda for the visit, driven by the need to combat losses linked to Romania. Post has, with some success, actively sought to move the involvement of corporate fraud and hacking victims including eBay away from simple blaming of the Romanian authorities, and towards a more forward-looking, collaborative approach. If we can sustain momentum, post believes this approach will bolster Romania's law enforcement capabilities and improve the country's battered reputation in this regard, while also directly addressing the losses these companies have experienced. End Comment.