Monday

20th May 2019

Romania's PM in corruption and money laundering charges

Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta is facing charges of corruption, forgery, money laundering, tax evasion, and conflict of interest.

Prosecutors from the DNA, Romania's anti-corruption agency, on Monday (13 July) "temporarily seized assets" belonging to the leftist leader following a five week investigation.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

A DNA statement said “prosecutors ordered a stepping-up of the penal action against the defendant Ponta, a lawyer at the time of the deeds”.

Romania’s latest crackdown is part of a larger effort to shake off its widespread reputation for corruption since it joined the European Union in 2007. Hundreds of others have been targeted over the years.

But Ponta, who has dismissed calls for his resignation from president Klaus Iohannis, is now the first sitting prime minister in Romania with a possible criminal wrapsheet.

“I am the prime minister of this coalition and I am presenting myself in a disciplined way,” he said after the indictment.

Iohannis, who is Ponta's political rival, at the time said “it is an impossible situation for Romania to have a prime minister charged with major offences”.

Despite the charges, Iohannis says he'll maintain an institutional relation with the prime minister.

The 42-year PM old on Sunday stepped down as leader of the governing PSD social democrat party in order, he says, to clear his name.

The party and its allies meanwhile managed to block parliament moves to strip him of his immunity after prosecutors announced the launch of the investigation in early June.

Ponta can claim protection from charges like conflict of interest for his time as prime minister but is not immune from money laundering and tax evasion.

The leader of a junior ally from the liberal ALDE faction voiced support to the troubled PM, reports Reuters.

"Our plan is to get together in the coalition government until the 2016 parliament election," said Calin Tariceanu.

The alleged criminal acts stem from Ponta's time as a lawyer before he became prime minister in 2012. He is also accused of accepting some €55,000 from a member of parliament who is also a close ally. He allegedly used some of the money to buy two luxury apartments in Bucharest.

Ponta, who returned to Bucharest after a month long stint in Turkey to recover from a knee surgery, says the charges against him are politically motivated.

He arrived at the DNA office on Monday in crutches.

Romanian PM under fire on corruption charges

Members of the lower house of the Romanian parliament have voted against lifting the immunity of prime minister Victor Ponta, who has been accused of forgery, tax evasion, and money laundering.

Bulgaria fails to adopt key anti-corruption law

Bulgaria’s parliament has failed to approve a key piece of legislation to fight high-level corruption in a setback for the government of centre-right prime minister Boiko Borisov.

Romanian anti-corruption protests bring down PM

A nightclub fire that killed 32 people in Bucharest has triggered a popular movement against corruption in the capital and in the government. PM Ponta promised to resign.

Timmermans calls for left-wing coalition at debate

The centre-right's Manfred Weber got most of the heat at the EU Commission presidential candidates' final debate before the European elections, while Frans Timmermans reached out to a possible coalition partners - piling more pressure on Weber's EPP.

Analysis

As candidates debate, more names surface for EU top jobs

Candidates from EU political families clash at the closely-watched debate in the European Parliament - but the elections themselves, plus lukewarm support from heads of government, could upend previous calculations.

News in Brief

  1. EU flies rainbow flag on anti-homophobia day
  2. EU to freeze money and visas of foreign cyber-attackers
  3. EU reassures US on arms sales
  4. Use euros over dollars in energy contracts, France says
  5. UK cross-party Brexit talks collapse
  6. Climate activists occupy German-Russian gas pipeline
  7. Farage got €515,000 of private perks
  8. French EU commissioner urges Italy not to overspend

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us