The leader of Romania's governing Social Democratic Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea claimed in a TV show on Sunday evening that an investigation into a new corruption case is "a violent attack on another state power, a violent attack on the Government". He said in the Antena 3 TV interview that he saw himself and other political leaders, the government and the parliament as "targets" of the investigation and warned that he was "not giving up, not even taking a step back".

Dragnea is seen as a key figure in a case related to a pond, named Belina, in the county of Teleorman where he used to head the local administration before climbing the ranks of the PSD up to PSD leadership. Following a series of press articles, prosecutors of the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) last week launched an investigation in the so-called "Belina" case, in which two ministers have been named as suspects for irregularities related to the passage of the Belina pond from the state to the administration of local authorities, then to private companies including one where Dragnea's own son is involved.

Dragnea said in the interview for Antena 3 - a channel known for its support for the PSD and the government - that "all ponds in Romania, 99% of them are rented out to private companies to exploit their fish and it will be the same after that. The thousands of rentals for all Romanian ponds should be investigated."

Dragnea also said that "I am the target, the PSD is a target, [Senate speaker] Tariceanu is a target, the government is a target, the Parliament is a target," and he stressed that "I'm not giving up, I'm not even taking a step back."

He said that a series of bills aiming to change the legislation governing Romania's judiciary would be adopted. The bills have sparked public and professional outcry for the past several weeks.

Liviu Dragnea's statements for Antena 3:

  • (Antena 3 showman Mircea Badea: Be careful because everything you say could be used against you) Dragnea: The big problem is that even what I don’t say will be used against me
  • (Antena 3 show host Mihai Gadea: How do you comment on DNA  last week's action?) A violent attack on another state power, a violent attack on the Government. We are talking about a government decision, one of several hundred, maybe even a few thousand on the transfer of a property from the public to the public, so not to the private
  • A big concern, the biggest in the world, wants to come to invest in Romania, and needs 80-100 hectares. Do you think anybody in the Government can sign anything?
  • It  is about a land area – from  what we've been studying, what we saw - full of weeds and concrete, which we know since childhood, which also contains puddles. This property was transferred, for a period of five years, attention, from the public domain of the state, from Romanian Waters, to another public institution,  the Teleorman County Council
  • All Romanian ponds, 99% of them, are rented to private companies to exploit their fish and so will be afterwards. The thousands of rentals for all Romanian ponds should be investigated
  • Now there are several companies that have rented in that area
  • The file (Belina) is a fiction. Sure, it has real consequences, with two ministers being investigated
  • I think the bet is not my person  anymore. I think the stake is PSD
  • I think everything that has emerged lately (in the field of justice, n.r.) - disclosures, pressure disclosures - the increasingly acute discussion is causing great tumult and great fear and also provoking this reaction
  • I think the DNA prosecutors are attempting  to prevent a possible bad report (on their work), because I have not seen untill now any actions at the DNA
  • (Gadea: It was accredited the idea that you wanted Belina Lake to fish there) There are many people fishing there. (Badea: Can I go and fish?) Of course you can. You go and fish. Besides, I have fished in many places in this country on many ponds. What are they going to do, take everyone who was in the same place fishing?
  • I hear they do not want to limit it just to me, I have messages that they want to take my child, they want to retain him
  • We are in a situation where there is a fight between abuse and democracy. We have encouraged everyone to break this fear, this terror. All we do is increase the parliamentary means of the commissions of inquiry. The Parliament is the most legitimate institution of Romania.
  • The latest polls I've seen, I'm sorry to say this, show that people’s first choices are jobs, health, education, agriculture... the anti-corruption fight has reached the 10th place. People have understood that it's not so big dimension which they have been talking about for years and that this action is going through abusive means.
  • (Codrin Stefanescu talked about Maior’s plan to eliminate you and take over the PSD, is that it?) I do not know if George Maior has this plan, but if he has, I think he forgot what PSD is. It's a big, solid party. I have no idea, maybe there are inventions
  • Codrin is a clean man who does not compromise, who says what he believes strongly and who cares for this party.
  • There are judges from the CSM who are pressured. The Judicial Inspection is pressured. I am the target. PSD is a target. Tariceanu is a target, the government is a target.The  Parliament is a target. We have no connection, but both the Parliament, the CSM and the Judicial Inspection want slowly the truth to come to light
  • We are not giving up, we are not even taking a step back. Laws of justice, as most of the population wants, will be brought to the Parliament, debated and adopted
  • (Have you been called to DNA?) No. (Do you expect them to call you?) Oh, sure, I do not think they won’t call me, or else it would be endless, right?
  • (How will Parliament vote to lift Rovana Plumb’s immunity?) They should vote as conscience dictates, they should  look in this case and  vote as they think
  • I will vote against the lift of immunity, because I told you, I think the file is a fiction
  • There are two very important ministers, one in the European Funds and the other in Development. Within a week they’ll come and take another two, and soon we wake up to DNA making the Government
  • I will vote against, to say from now, they can go ahead and scream. I have the constitutional right to vote as I wish and I will exercise this right
  • Asked if there are institutions that have disregarded decisions of the Constitutional Court: DNA and the General Prosecutor's Office. Tomorrow morning I will meet with Mr. Tariceanu, let's see how we can do to intimate the CCR.
  • Asked what relationship he had with President Iohannis: I have not talked in awhile , since the day I call him to let him know who I was going to propose, the two ministers. In the end I hope to reach a civilized relationship. I said, "It does not make sense for you to find out from the press." And we have also discussed after the ceremony in the anteroom, among others, about the visit to America of Mihai Fifor. I expressed my point of view, that the relationship with the United States is very important, we have allocated 2% to the defense.
  • Question: Do you agree with the presence of Cristian Burci near the Deputy Minister of Defense?
  • Liviu Dragnea: I do not know if he was in the delegation or around the delegation.
  • About the telephone conversation with Viktor Orban: I told him that instead of fighting between us  as countries for years ... We can have a lot of common, economic and strategic interests, I think we can find common solutions for the future .
  • Dragnea: A delegation will go to Ukraine to discuss with the President of Ukraine. The Romanian ethnics there must see that they are not left behind.
  • It seems to be the final affair, I think the river will be defeated after all. I hope that the good will defeat and we will have a rule of law in Romania, not a state of uprights
  • It all depends on the day the Judicial Inspection report appears.