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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 HotNews.ro. 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.
Romania president makes debatable nominations of ambassadors to US, Germany​ ​Romania President Klaus Iohannis has made a series of controversial nominations for key embassies abroad, including Berlin and Washington D.C.. He nominated George Maior, who recently left the helm of the Romanian Intelligence Service after eight years in office, as Ambassador to the United States. And he also nominated Emil Hurezeanu, a veteran journalist of German citizenship who has just received a Romanian one back, as Ambassador to Germany.
Russia Ambassador to Romania attacks opinion website and newspaper, calls authors "boors". Contributors.ro website, authors react ​An opinion article published by Romanian opinion and debate website Contributors.ro, called "The fascist lure of Comrade Putin", which was re-published by newspaper Romania libera, has sparked a harsh reaction from Russia Ambassador to Bucharest Oleg Malginov. In a press release published on the embassy website, Olginov claimed that "any boor having a say in the pages of central [Romanian] newspapers is not necessary at all". He also said that he was "surprised and disappointed" to read the article and that once he did so "the informative portal Contributors.ro and Romania libera newspapers have ceased to exist for me as media outlets worthy of respect".
Sources: ​Three paintings signed "Picasso" allegedly hidden along dozens of others, found by prosecutors in graft inquiry against former Romanian Finance minister Darius Valcov Former Romanian Finance minister Darius Valcov, who is subject of a major corruption inquiry, is said to have hidden over 90 paintings, including three by Picasso, according to judicial sources quoted by one local news agency and one TV channel on Thursday. The allegations appear days after prosecutors said a stash of US dollars, bars of gold and paintings including one signed "Renoir", all appearing to belong to Valcov, had been found in a safe box away from his home. Valcov, who served as Finance minister until very recently, was placed under house arrest on Thursday.
Romanian MPs once more save fellow senator from arrest on graft charges, but leave minister at prosecutors' hands Romanian MPs let fellow senator Dan Sova, a former minister, dodge arrest under graft charges on Wednesday, while approving a prosecutor's demand that they approve the arrest of another top politician, Darius Valcov, who recently resigned as Finance minister as he has been investigated for bribe taking and other abuses when he served as mayor of Slatina city a few years ago.UPDATE 1 President Klaus Iohannis said with its decision in Sova's case the Parliament blocked a request of the judiciary once again. The US and UK embassies also spoke out that nobody should be above the law and that the parliamentary immunity should not be used abusivelyUPDATE 2 Ex-minister Valcov was retained by anti-graft prosecutors in the late afternoon on Wednesday
Head of key Romanian anti-graft body Horia Georgescu retained in corruption probe Prosecutors from Romania's National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) retained the head of the National Integrity Agency (ANI), another major anti-corruption body, after lengthy hearings on Monday. Judiciary sources told HotNews.ro that ANI head Horia Georgescu is suspected of abuse in office before his term at the helm of the Agency, which is key in keeping the wealth of Romanian public officials under scrutiny.
Romanian Finance minister Darius Valcov accused of taking EUR 2 mln. bribe when he served as mayor Romanian anti-graft prosecutors have launched a criminal inquiry against Romanian Finance minister Darius Valcov under charges of traffic of influence, while he is suspected of having taking bribes to favor a businessman. National Anti-corruption Department prosecutors accuse him of having received some EUR 2 million when he served as mayor of Slatina city in 2010-2013.
Commissioner Corina Cretu uses Parable of Talents to prompt Romania use financial instruments in support of SMEs ​European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu used Biblical teachings in a conference in Bucharest on Thursday to push the Romanian Government into giving proper attention to and accepting the importance of European financial instruments to support SMEs. He warned Romanian minister for European Funds Eugen Teodorovici that, in the words of Matthew, "from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away". For his part, Teodorovici said that his government was working to create a state-controlled development bank to offer its own financial instruments to SMEs and other beneficiaries, in order to access European funds.
Romania says it regrets blunder after Foreign minister gave German counterpart a brochure with German flag printed on France map. Gift initiative belonged to local news agency ​German Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier received a curious gift from his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu during his trip to Bucharest on Monday: a brochure on which the flags of Romania and Germany stood side by side - but while the Romanian flag was printed on a map of Romania, that of Germany was printed on a map of... France. The Romanian minister felt compelled to send the deepest regrets for the blunder personally to Steinmeier, who played down the incident.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier: Germany ready to contribute to creation of a NATO command center in Romania / Plus: sanctions and Ukraine, interests of German companies German Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has given an exclusive interview with HotNews.ro one day before his visit to Bucharest today, which comes just weeks after Romanian President Iohannis visited Berlin. Steinmeier says an important issue he would discuss with top Romanian officials will be to identify joint initiatives for stronger cooperation between the two countries. He said Germany was ready to take part in the creation of units to integrate NATO forces and of a multinational command center in Romania. Regarding German companies active in Romania, he said the extension of infrastructure, better legal safety and fair public tenders would be advantages for Romania in attracting German investments. He also spoke of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, saying it was wrong to believe that sanctions or weaponry deliveries would be a remedy in the Ukrainian conflict.

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