Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu retained by anti-graft prosecutors on bribe taking charges ​The mayor of Romanian capital city Bucharest Sorin Oprescu was retained by anti-corruption prosecutors at midnight last night. He faces bribe taking charges. Early on Sunday, prosecutors from the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA), which has been pursuing a long series of high level corruption cases including ones related to the current PM and other top officials, accuse Oprescu of receiving 10% of the value of contracts various companies signed with his City Hall or Hall-controlled public authorities.
Romania's governing Social Democrats change indicted leader Victor Ponta with sentenced "interim" president Liviu Dragnea​ ​The leadership of Romania's governing Social Democrats (PSD) elected their former executive president as new "interim" president of the party, a seat held for the past several years by prime minister Victor Ponta. Ponta stepped down as party president "temporarily" earlier this month because of his being indicted in a corruption case. So the PSD leaders convened to name a replacement and found it in Liviu Dragnea, an influential member who has one big issue: he himself was not only indicted, by received a one-year suspended sentence in a corruption case, a sentence which he has appealed.
Romanian President, Government in major clash as new fiscal code is sent back to Parliament Romanian President Klaus Iohannis decided on Friday not to approve a new fiscal code that the government has been pushing hard and decided to sent it back for review in the Parliament. The president warned that the measures included in the new code, among which a series of tax cuts which were lauded by the business community, would have major effects on budget building for the upcoming years. The decision prompted harsh reactions from the prime minister, his finance minister and the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD), with promises that the value added tax would be pushed through an emergency ordinance this year any way.
UPDATE Romanian PM Victor Ponta says he withdraws from party leadership in wake of corruption case Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta has announced that he decided to step down from the leadership of his Social Democratic Party (PSD) until he proves his innocence against the charges anti-graft prosecutors have issued against him. He made the statement weeks after the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) launched a graft investigation against him, prompting insisting calls - including President Klaus Iohannis' - for him to step down as head of government, which he has rejected so far.UPDATE PSD interim president Rovana Plumb later today said Ponta did not resign, but stepped down temporarily as head of the party. She said Ponta's resignation as prime minister was out of the question as it would provoke a "major political crisis". And she said she would serve as interim until the next party congress, which is due next year.
President Iohannis nominates former PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu back as head of Romanian Foreign Intelligence Service Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has nominated Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, a politician who had served as prime minister and as head of the country's Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), to head SIE again, the Presidency announced on Wednesday. The Parliament is due to make a final decision in this regard. If confirmed in office, Ungureanu would replace interim SIE head Silviu Predoiu. An influential opposition senator of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) already reacted by saying that PSD would oppose such an "illegal" nomination.
It's official: Romania to host US heavy military equipment and NATO units The United States will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in six CEE states including Romania, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced, as quoted by Reuters. The news comes as the Romanian Parliament also approved on Tuesday a request by President Klaus Iohannis to allow the establishment of a NATO Force Integration Unit and a Multinational Commandment on Romanian territory. The request was approved unanimously. The Parliament also approved a new National Defense Strategy proposed by President Iohannis, which sees Russia as main threat to Romanian security.
Romania President Iohannis names controversial politician Gabriel "National Interest" Oprea as interim replacement for PM Victor Ponta Romanian President Klaus Iohannis signed a decree on Monday naming deputy PM Gabriel Oprea, a controversial politician with a shady past, as interim prime minister. Oprea thus takes the reins of the government as PM Victor Ponta, facing corruption charges, has left the country for a knee intervention in a Turkish hospital, sparking outrage back home.
Romania government survives censure motion ​The Romanian Government led by Victor Ponta survived on Friday a censure motion submitted in the Parliament by the opposition, which had accused Ponta of undermining voting by Romanian abroad in presidential elections last year.
Romanian minister sparks outrage saying children of people choosing to work abroad become hooligans, wives turn "whores" Romanian Transport minister Ioan Rus sparked outrage both at home and abroad as he told a TV news channel on Wednesday night that people leaving for work abroad may get a 1,500 euro salary - but for this money their children become hooligans and their wives turn "whores". Following political and public outcry to his statements, he said on Thursday that he might ask the prime minister to accept his resignation.UPDATE PM Victor Ponta announced on Facebook on Thursday afternoon that he accepted Rus' resignation.
UPDATE Romanian President, Embassies take stand as House of Deputies defend PM Ponta against inquiry on corruption charges Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and the Netherlands Embassy to Bucharest reacted harshly on Tuesday after the House of Deputies voted earlier today to reject a call by anti-graft prosecutors to allow an inquiry against prime minister Victor Ponta, who faces corruption charges including conflict of interest. The UK Embassy also made a statement defending the importance of the fight against corruption and the need for functional judicial and law enforcement institutions in Romania. Iohannis took the toughest stand on the issue so far, calling again for Ponta to resign.
Romanian deputies build wall around PM Victor Ponta against criminal inquiry on corruption charges Romania's House of Deputies voted on Tuesday morning to reject a request by the prosecutor general to approve a criminal inquiry against prime minister Victor Ponta, who faces corruption charges including conflict of interest. Ponta thus gets rid of the criminal inquiry for conflict of interest. The deputies' verdict comes despite a huge scandal sparked by Ponta when he refused to step down as head of government following the National Anti-corruption Department decision last week to launch an investigation against him on multiple corruption accounts.
Romanian PM Ponta, highest ranking official facing corruption charges, openly threatens opposition as he refuses to resign. Deputies due to vote on request to open criminal inquiry against him Romanian PM Victor Ponta, who on Sunday said he refused to resign in the wake of a decision by the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) to open a criminal inquiry against him on corruption charges, threatened the opposition on Monday and suggested he would use his parliamentary majority to resist justice pressure. His threats come as members of the House of Deputies are due to vote Tuesday morning on a DNA request to approve the opening of the criminal inquiry against him.
Victor Ponta's future in the government following corruption inquiry: three scenarios Romania's National Anticorruption Department (DNA) announced on Friday it had opened a criminal inquiry against PM Victor Ponta over actions he made when serving as deputy and as prime minister. DNA's announcement opens three scenarios for the Social Democratic head of government: resignation, his suspension by the president, or maintaining status quo.
BREAKING Romanian PM Victor Ponta says he is suspect in corruption case - UPDATE. DNA: Ponta placed under criminal inquiry over false documents, complicity to tax evasion and money laundering. President Iohannis demands Ponta's resignation PM Victor Ponta has become the highest ranking Romanian official who has been put under criminal inquiry under corruption-related charges while in office. Ponta was at the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) headquarters on Friday morning. He made no statement on his arriving at the DNA offices and there is no public information about the purpose of his going there.UPDATE 1 Victor Ponta said on Friday he was a suspect in a case related to his activity as a lawyer in 2007-2008 and for conflict of interest over his naming fellow lawyer Dan Sova as minister in his government.UPDATE 2 Asked on his leaving the DNA offices if he would resign, Ponta said: We don't do politics at the DNA, we do politics in ParliamentUPDATE 3 The DNA issued a press release announcing that anti-graft prosecutors ordered a criminal inquiry against PM Ponta for 17 cases of false documents under private signature, complicity to tax evasion, money laundering.UPDATE 4 President Iohannis said in a statement on Friday that he calls for Victor Ponta's resignationUPDATE 5 For now, PM Ponta said on Facebook on Friday that only the Parliament - who named him as prime minister - can dismiss him as head of government.
Romania President Iohannis signs decree naming controversial prosecutor at helm of key body fighting organized crime Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has signed a decree naming a prosecutor noticed especially for his lack of results as head of the country's key body in charge with fighting organized crime, DIICOT. He named Daniel-Constantin Horodniceanu as chief prosecutor of DIICOT more than a month after he was nominated for the job by Justice minister Robert Cazanciuc.
Airbus Helicopters starts construction works in Ghimbav, Romania plant​ ​Airbus Helicopters has started construction works at a Super Puma MK 1 assembling plant in Ghimbav, Romania, according to Buna Ziua Brasov newspaper which says investment will rise to 40 million euro. The first civilian helicopter is expected to be produced there in 2007, with military use ones due to be bult starting a year later.
Romania Development minister and key leader of governing Social Democrats Liviu Dragnea resigns following suspended prison sentence in referendum fraud case Romania's Development and Administration minister Liviu Dragnea, who on Friday received a suspended prison sentence of 1 year over fraud in the 2012 referendum to dismiss ex-President Traian Basescu, announced at noon today that he submitted his resignation from the Victor Ponta Government despite he considered himself not guilty. Dragnea claimed the sentence set a dangerous precedent that might threaten democracy, while PM Ponta supported him in stating he was not content with the decision. How can one campaign without urging people to vote? asked Ponta, despite Dragnea being sentenced for using his political influence to acquire the necessary referendum turnout threshold by illegal means.
Top Romanian minister Liviu Dragnea receives suspended prison sentence of 1 year for fraud in 2012 referendum to dismiss ex-president Basescu One of the most prominent members of the Romanian Government led by Victor Ponta, Development and Administration minister Liviu Dragnea, received a suspended prison sentence of one year on Friday in a case in which he is accused of fraud in a 2012 referendum to dismiss then-president Traian Basescu. The sentence can be appealed both by Dragnea and prosecutors.
​VIDEO/PHOTO "The Cavalry March" - the passing of US armoured vehicles and helicopters through Romanian villages and sunny thristle fields of Baragan "They're waving as if they've been waiting for the Americans their whole life", says a partially serious fellow reporter. From up on top of a Stryker armoured vehicle, one of the many in a miles-long convoy of US war machines, it comes easy to capture on camera the smiles and hails of people on the road side. Rarely would one see such a show of force - in Romania, it may only be the national day of December 1 when some bigger display of power is on display. Over 500 US troops, 80 combat vehicles - mostly Stryker transporters - accompanied by two Apache helicopters - crossed the distance between Mihail Kogalniceanu base in SE Romania all the way to Ploiesti on Wednesday and are due to move on to Brasov and the Cincu base in central Romania on Thursday, for one of the largest multinational NATO exercises this year.
Group of Romanian deputies facing legal problems attempt abusive change of Criminal Procedure Code to counter major anti-graft offensive Ten Romanian deputies, most of whom belong to PM Victor Ponta's Social Democratic Party, have submitted a bill to change the Criminal Procedure Code in such a way that prosecutors currently involved in a major push against corruption would be left without key legal tools of investigation and even risk prison sentences, as legal experts have explained to Half of the initiators are themselves facing criminal investigations and indictments, including PM Ponta's own godson. And one of them has already received a sentence for conflict of interests.


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