Bucharest mayor taken into custody in corruption probe

Sorin Oprescu has served as the Mayor of Bucharest since 2008 (AFP Photo/Andrei Pungovschi)

Bucharest (AFP) - The mayor of Romania's capital Bucharest was taken into custody Saturday night on suspicion of taking kickbacks on municipal tenders, anti-corruption officials said.

Mayor Sorin Oprescu is accused of being among a group of officials that demanded a share in the profits made by companies that won contracts with the city.

Investigators said in a statement that the mayor sought ten percent for himself.

Oprescu's lawyer Alexandru Chiciu insisted his client had "never asked for money from anybody, directly or indirectly".

A criminal probe into the allegations has been launched. Oprescu will remain in custody for 24 hours.

Mayor of Bucharest since 2008, Oprescu is supported by the ruling Social Democrats.

The probe into city hall is the latest in a string of enquiries by the anti-corruption directorate (DNA) that have cost several prominent Romanians their jobs in recent months, including Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who stepped down as party leader in July.