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 abusively
  • UPDATE 2 Ex-minister Valcov was retained by anti-graft prosecutors in the late afternoon on Wednesday

MPs have been drawing harsh criticism with their standing together to defend influential colleagues who are investigated by the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) for under graft abuses.

According to Romanian law, DNA has to obtain the approval of the Parliament for the preventive arrest of or the launch of criminal inquiries on MPs who are accused of corruption. But while the Parliament has approved such requests in cases such as former minister Elena Udrea and, now, that of Darius Valcov, over the past couple of months they rejected other such requests with no proper argumentation - as was the case of MPs Varujan Vosganian and Laszlo Borbely.

On Wednesday, not enough votes were cast in support of the request for the Parliament to approve the arrest of Dan Sova, a former minister and close associate of PM Victor Ponta, who is investigated on charges related to his law firm providing services to key state-controlled energy units. That means that Dan Sova - who earlier today summoned the help of God in a speech before the Parliament - escapes arrest under corruption charges.

But MPs managed to gather enough votes to approve of the arrest request on the name of Darius Valcov, who until recently served as Finance minister in the Ponta Government, Earlier today, Valcov urged parliamentarians to say yes to the arrest request. Valcov is accused of a series of abuses, including bribe taking, allegedly done years ago when he served as mayor of Slatina city. It was recently revealed that he had hidden quite a treasure - including a Renoir painting, several kilos of gold and a stash of US dollars - in a safe box away from his home, so that he did not declare it.