Romanian SocDem leader: New case of Anticorruption Directorate aims to destroy ruling party PSD

The Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea has reacted after the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) announced that it has started investigating how a Danube island was transferred from the state to the administration of Teleorman County Council and then leased to a private company. The local media associated the firm’s name with Liviu Dragnea.

However, Liviu Dragnea said that the DNA prosecutors’ actions in this new case, nicknamed “Belina”, appear to be “a violent attack on the Government”, their aim being to destroy the ruling party PSD, reports local Agerpres.

DNA has started the prosecution of Regional Development Minister and Deputy PM Sevil Shhaideh for abuse of office in this new case, and also asked the Parliament to approve the prosecution of former environment minister Rovana Plumb, who is currently a minister-delegate for EU funds in the Mihai Tudose cabinet. Moreover, four other state officials are being prosecuted for abuse of office or complicity to abuse of office in this case.

“We are not talking about a transfer to a company, but to a public institution, the County Council, therefore it was a transfer between public entities. And I’m not sure that there have never been property transfers to a local authority before, so that private investments can be made there. And I find this to be a very good thing,” Dragnea said at local TV station Antena 3.

He also said that the “Belina” case targets a “piece of land full of weeds” and “some concrete,” where he had spent his childhood. The place also includes some ponds and, according to Dragnea, all the ponds in Romania are leased to private companies for fish exploitation.

Liviu Dragnea also said that this case is “a fiction,” and that he believes that he will also be called in for questioning.

The investigation in this case started in July 2017 when DNA began the prosecution of three local officials of the Teleorman county, who had signed in 2013 the contract through which some 80 hectares of the Belina Island were leased to Tel Drum, a controversial company connected to the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.

The Belina fishing domain came into public attention in May this year, when Dragnea and former PM Sorin Grindeanu posted photos taken during a fishing trip there. The PSD leader confirmed that he went fishing in the Belina area but denied having any benefits from the transfer of the respective plots of land from Teleorman County Council to Tel Drum.

Irina Marica, [email protected]