Romania's anti-graft prosecutors announced on Tuesday the launch of a new criminal inquiry against former prime minister Victor Ponta. On the margins of hearings related to the case this morning, another top politician involved in the case mentioned the name of former British PM Tony Blair as related to the situation for which Ponta is now under scrutiny.
Victor Ponta and Sebastian Ghita, a politician and businessman closely associated with the former Romanian prime minister, were summoned to hearings by the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) in Ploiesti on Tuesday morning. Ponta was said to have been suspected of receiving money in order to place certain individuals in eligible parliamentary seats for his Social Democratic Party in the 2012 general elections.
Prior to the hearings, Sebastian Ghita said the case was related to a meeting that took place before the 2012 elections between Victor Ponta, UK's Ambassador to Romania at the time, former British PM Tony Blair and another Romanian official. Ghita said he knew Blair's name was involved in the case.
The DNA later released a press release saying it had opened an inquiry against Victor Ponta for using his influence to obtain unjustified benefits and for complicity to money laundering.
The press release says that Ponta used his authority to confirm the nomination of a businessman (not named in the PR) as a party candidate in the elections, and bu confirming the nomination Ponta received unjustified benefits in the form of EUR 220,000. The money, DNA says, was needed to organise a foreign personality's (not named in the PR) visit to Romania. The goal, according to the DNA, was to bring media attention to a meeting with the internationally known personality, so that Victor Ponta gain electoral weight in the 2012 elections.