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Romania virtual gallery turns corruption into art

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightMuseum of Corruption
image captionCash, sheep and wooden doors have all featured in recent bribery cases

Cases of bribery in Romania have become the inspiration for a new virtual art gallery, which aims to highlight the country's corruption problems.

The Museum of Corruption can be "toured" online, with a host of unusual bribes depicted on its digital walls, the Ziarul de Iasi news website reports. Among them, a piece called "Bribe in the Cemetery" relates to Romania's former finance minister, Darius Valcov, who is on trial for corruption and allegedly accepted bags of cash while in a graveyard. The gallery format was chosen because corrupt officials "have managed to raise bribery to the level of art", according to the project's Facebook page.

It was developed by digital marketing agency Kinecto Isobar, which tells the BBC that there's an educational aim, highlighting that cash isn't the only way of bribing people. Sheep, mineral water and even a bridge feature among the real cases depicted. "Some bribes seem so incredible that they appear to have been invented by some creative people in an advertising agency," says senior copywriter Denisa Armasu.

To illustrate the point, there's also a "bribery quiz" where visitors can decide whether a story is true or false - with a bit of humour thrown in. Asking whether police officers really took a bribe of whisky and fish (apparently they did), it adds: "Together they would be a bit indigestible."

Corruption is a long-standing problem in Romania, which ranks third from bottom among EU member states on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index. Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta is among a number of top officials facing corruption charges.

image copyrightMuseum of Corruption
image captionVisitors can take a tour of the gallery's artwork without leaving the house

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