High Court reopens corruption case targeting Romania's ruling party leader
Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice decided on Monday, October 1, to reopen a corruption case related to the privatization of construction company Tel Drum.
The investigation also targets Liviu Dragnea, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), the current ruling party in Romania. However, according to the High Court’s decision, the anticorruption prosecutors will only investigate the facts related to this case and the investigation will only target the abuse of office against public interest offense, local Mediafax reported. Thus, nobody will be immediately prosecuted, and this will happen only if the prosecutors find solid evidence of the crime.
The investigation in this case was initially closed in 2013 but the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) asked for its reopening. They argued that the evidence was not properly presented at that time and that they also have new evidence.
Liviu Dragnea is also involved in a major case of EU funds fraud targeting Tel Drum, which the DNA opened in November 2017. In that case, Dragnea was charged with abuse of office, EU funds fraud and setting up an organized crime group.
The PSD leader received a suspended prison sentence in 2016 for electoral fraud at the 2012 referendum for dismissing former president Traian Basescu. In June this year, Dragnea was also convicted to 3 years and 6 months in jail for abuse of office, but the decision is not final. The High Court found him guilty of ordering the Child Protection and Social Assistance Direction in Teleorman to pay two women who didn’t actually work there but did various services for Dragnea’s party, back when he was president of the Teleorman County Council. The court is expected to rule its final decision in this case in the next months.
(photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)