Dan Voiculescu, the founding leader of Romania's Conservative Party, a small but highly influential party of the governing coalition, announced his resignation from the Senate on Monday. The announcement comes several days before a new term in a corruption case involving Dan Voiculescu was due at the High Court of Justice. His resignation means the case is returned from the High Court, which deals with cases involving dignitaries, to a lower court - the Bucharest Tribunal. It is the second time in less than a year when Voiculescu resigns as Senator and thus avoid High Court hearings.
Dan Voiculescu is the founder of the Conservative Party (PC), which together with the National Liberal Party (PNL) joined the Social Democrats (PSD) to form the Social Liberal Union, the current governing coalition. A prominent businessman, he is also the owner of one of Romania's biggest media groups, Intact.
He has been investigated in a corruption case related to the privatization of an agricultural research institute. As he served as a senator, the case should have been judged at the High Court. But in early summer 2012 he resigned from the Senate just days before a term was due at the High Court, meaning that the case was returned to a lesser court. .
In the parliamentary elections late last year, he ran and was elected for Senate again, but as court proceedings advanced he failed to take oath as elected MP along with the other elected senators. He took oath earlier this month.
But on Monday, several days before the January 31 deadline when his case was due at the High Court again, he announced his resignation again. He said before the Senate that he did so in order to put an end to speculation that his immunity has become and obstacle for the course of justice.
At the high court, he was due to face the same judges who sentenced former Romanian prime minister Adrian Nastase in a corruption case last year.