Romanian Businessman Accused of Defrauding Asian and African Workers

Photo: Tazz Cyclist

In recent years, the number of foreign workers in Romania has surged. State control institutions are overwhelmed, leaving the rights of non-EU workers at the discretion of employers. Often, foreign citizens promised a better life never set foot in Romania or arrive in vain.

PressOne published an article, revealing that several workers from Asia and Africa have accused a businessman from Timișoara of promising jobs and permits in Romania which were never delivered.

Allegations of Fraud

Numerous workers from Africa and Asia claim they were deceived by a Romanian “recruiter” named Bogdan Poto, and have shared their experiences with PressOne. This year, the government has already approved 100,000 work permits for workers from outside the European Union, a significant increase from the 15,000 permits approved in 2018. Most workers now come from South Asia, including countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Most of the jobs that are being promised are that for courier services for food delivery apps, such as Tazz, Glovo and Bolt, as these tend to be attractive jobs to foreign nationals, due to the simplicity of the work envolved.

Work Permit
Source: Facebook

Victims' Stories

At least five individuals from Nigeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, and Pakistan claim they paid sums ranging from a few hundred to thousands of euros to a Romanian recruitment agency, which promised them jobs as food delivery workers at another company owned by the same businessman.

Bogdan Pota
Source: Facebook – Bogdan Pota

Hyginus, a young man from Nigeria, paid an advance of 600 euros on 16 May 2023 to Bogdan Poto's agency. After months of waiting, he received nothing of what was promised. His mother, who arranged the job, found Bogdan on a Facebook group called ‘Jobs in Romania for Foreigners.' Despite repeated promises, the necessary documents were never provided, and eventually, both Bogdan and his wife blocked communication with her.

Facebook posts, warning of Bogdan Poto recruitment scam.
Source: PressOne – Redacted

Additional Comments from Victims

Comments on Bogdan Poto's Facebook account reveal more details about his alleged fraudulent activities:

  • Hyginus: “People should be careful of this guy. He is a scammer, his company no longer exists, but he is still collecting money from people in Africa, Bangladesh, and Asia in the name of getting them work permits. He collected 450€ from me and 600€ from my friend, which we paid into his wife's account. He claimed to have submitted our documents to IGI on 25 August, but he was busy driving his wife around with a car bought with people's money. Since May, he has not submitted our files. When we asked for a refund, he said Romanian law doesn't permit refunds. Who knows this scammer should tell him to return people's money. He is digging his own grave.”
    • Reply: RS U: “Hyginus, yes my friend. He changed his WhatsApp number and doesn't answer his mobile or reply to my messages.”
    • Reply: مغل: “Hyginus, the same thing happened with many people from different countries. I also applied with him last year and still haven’t received any response. We should take steps to contact enforcement departments in his country to take action against this fraud.”

Other Cases

Justus, another Nigerian living in Cluj, paid 400 euros for his brother's employment but sensed something was wrong and stopped further payments. After months of delays, he demanded his money back, facing threats of legal action from Bogdan.

Irfan, a Turkish citizen from Mersin, paid 650 euros to work as a delivery driver in Cluj but faced continuous delays and ultimately received nothing. Fakhrul Islam from Bangladesh paid an advance of 250 euros per person for himself and four others but received nothing after six months.

Rahman Sadikur's Case

Rahman Sadikur and four compatriots arrived in Baia Mare through a recruitment company but found different jobs and salaries than promised. They moved to Timișoara to work for Bogdan Poto, only to discover their documents were not processed, making them illegal workers. Eventually, Sadikur received a decision to return to Bangladesh.

Authorities' Response

PressOne asked various authorities about sanctions or investigations against Bogdan Poto or his companies but received no relevant information.

Ongoing Recruitment

Despite these allegations, Bogdan Poto continues to recruit workers. Recently, he posted job ads for women to work in an erotic massage salon in Cluj and on OnlyFans.

Boddan Poto Facebook Post: Good evening dear collaborators
We are looking for female candidates
6 Thailandes to work in a professional erotic massage located in Cluj Napoca
And 10 Filipina for only fans.
Accomodation is provided
900 euro salary For more details
Respect yourself, be Prestige 100
Source: Facebook
Bogdan Poto May 5th: Good morning
Looking for one Filipina
3000 Ron salary
Source: Facebook

Businessman's Response

According to PressOne, Bogdan Poto has been elusive, not answering calls or providing detailed responses to accusations.

The phone number listed on his business cards is permanently switched off, and the official contact provided by his company leads to a law office that claims to have no connection with the Timișoara businessman.

However, he eventually responded:

• “Hello, good afternoon! Am I speaking with Bogdan Poto?”

• “Yes.”

• “My name is Andrei Gudu. I am a journalist for PressOne and I am writing an article about your companies, Bogdan Delivery Trading and Prestige Recruitment Agency. I have a few questions if you have time to talk.”

• “We are having lunch, no, thank you, goodbye!”

• “Are you sure? I have some questions and I would rather have your opinion on the facts.”

• “Sir, do you think I waste my time aimlessly? With all due respect, I have work, and if I give you some information… we are having lunch, you have no respect, please, have a good day!”

WhatsApp Conversation – PressOne & Bogdan Poto

PressOne called him again on 16 May from another phone number, but he did not answer the call. On Friday, 24 May, they sent him a message on WhatsApp in which PressOne presented the accusations of former clients and employees and asked him to respond specifically to these.

Bogdan Poto responded that “if they do not meet their tax obligations, I give them nothing.” After asking him why he did not return the clients’ advances, Poto blocked them on WhatsApp.

The practices described by the victims are not isolated to Bogdan Poto. This case is reflective of a broader issue within Romania’s labour market, where the rapid increase in foreign workers has outpaced the state’s ability to regulate their employment effectively. Many foreign workers fall victim to deceptive practices, paying large sums of money for jobs and permits that never materialise.

Mihai Vasile, a researcher on labour and social protection for Politeia, an NGO focused on education for workers’ rights, stated, “The Romanian state lacks both the capacity and the will to address the abuses faced by many immigrants. The labour inspectorate was already understaffed before the increase in non-EU workers, and now it can’t cope with the additional problems.”

In many cases, foreign workers who attempt to seek redress are met with bureaucratic obstacles, language barriers, and a lack of effective support, leading to situations where they may be treated as illegal immigrants if their employment situation is not resolved.

The growing number of foreign workers in Romania and the state's inability to regulate their employment effectively has led to increased vulnerability and exploitation. The allegations against Bogdan Poto highlight the urgent need for better oversight and protection for these workers.

The full article, in Romania, can be read here.

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