Romanian TV news channel Antena 3 gave a heavy blow to President Traian Basescu on Wednesday night as it presented a short film in which the President's brother, Mircea Basescu, appears to admit receiving money from a member of an convicted underworld boss's family in order to intervene at judiciary level for a milder sentence of the latter. On Thursday, Mircea Basescu claimed he has not ask for nor received any money in this case, while PM Victor Ponta, the president's archrival, called for the resignation of the president.

  • UPDATE President Traian Basescu made a statement on Thursday that between the need to strengthen the Romanian judiciary and the natural reflex of defending his brother, he chooses strengthening the judiciary. He denied any involvement in alleged attempts to influence the judiciary and said justice is the only one to decide whether Mircea Basescu was guilty or not.
  • UPDATE 2 Mircea Basescu said on Thursday that he was summoned at the National Anti-corruption Department as a suspect and that he, like his brother the president, regretted his "entourage".

Antena 3 is controlled by the family of Dan Voiculescu, a prominent and influential businessman, media owner and politician who risks a corruption-related sentence in a separate case himself. Antena 3 has been attacking the President for many years and is now seen as close to the governing Social Democrats.

The short video presented a dialogue between Mircea Basescu and Florin Anghel, son of sentenced underworld boss Bercea Mondial, in which:

  • the president's brother appears to admit receiving a large amount of money
  • Mircea Basescu talks about influencing judges and the judiciary in favor of a criminal
  • Mircea Basescu promises he whould talk about Bercea Mondial's case with President Traian Basescu

The links between Mircea Basescu and Sandu Anghel, also known as "Bercea Mondial", are long lasting: in 2010, the president's brother baptized a member of Bercea Mondial's family. Bercea Mondial is also reputed to have similar relations with other top politicians and judges.

On Thursday morning, Mircea Basescu claimed he did not ask nor received any money in the case depicted by Antena 3 and said that drawing the Presidency and the President of Romania into this scandal was groundless. He also acknowledged talking to his brother, the head of state, who was "very upset" about it.

And Victor Ponta, the Social Democratic prime minister who's main focus since coming to office in 2012 and years before has been to challenge Traian Basescu's Presidency and attack the president, said on Thursday morning that in the wake of the broadcast of the video recordings of his brother Mircea, Traian Basescu should resign.