Romania's National Anti Corruption Division (DNA) reported on Monday the launch of a criminal inquiry against Liviu Dragnea, speaker of the House of Deputies and leader of the governing Social Democratic Party (PSD), as well as a group of top managers of Tel Drum company, under suspicion of establishment of an organized crime group and abuse of service in connection with the rehabilitation of county roads with EU funds.

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The case is the first which links Dragnea directly to Tel Drum, a bearer shares company which has been long speculated to be controlled by Dragnea, a suspicion which Dragnea has repeatedly dismissed.

The DNA reported in a press release that the case was filed following a complaint by OLAF (European Anti-Fraud Office) dated 30 September 2016.

The announcement came after Liviu Dragnea was at the DNA HQ in the morning, to be informed of a new case being filed against him. It would be the third corruption-related case opened against him, as he has already received a suspended sentence in one case and is facing trial in another.

The DNA placed him under criminal inquiry under suspicion of forming an organised crime group:

  • two offenses of use or presentation in bad faith of documents or false, inaccurate or incomplete statements, if the act has the effect of unjustly obtaining European funds,
  • two offenses of abuse of service getting benefits  for oneself or for another, writes the National Anti Corruption Division

Prosecutors state in the official press release that as president of the Teleorman County Council, a position he has held before joining national-level politics, Liviu Dragnea has allegedly set up an organized criminal group in 2001. The group, "which is currently operating", consisted of officials from public administration institutions and businessmen.

This group would seek to obtain illegal money from publicly funded contracts (national and European) by committing offenses of abuse of service, fraud of European funds, tax evasion, money laundering and the use of information that is not intended to be advertised or allowing unauthorized persons to access this information.

Who are the members of the group:

- Liviu Dragnea (as president of the Teleorman County Council)

- Marian Fiscuci, a close friend of Liviu Nicolae Dragnea and a person who became a major shareholder of Tel Drum SA and who acted as an intercessor of Liviu Nicolae Dragnea in the management of the commercial company,

- Mugur Bataus and Victor Piperea, officials of the Teleorman County Council who initially participated in the privatization of Tel Drum SA and later handled the publicly funded projects and provided the necessary framework for winning these projects by Tel Drum SA and,

- Neda Florea, at that time holding a managing position in Tel Drum SA, who facilitated the privatization of the company, and subsequently a shareholder of Tel Drum SA, a private legal person, director of this company and currently Deputy Director of Tel Drum SA ; took care of the administration of the company and secured the participation of the company in committing the crimes for the purpose of which the group was created.

Liviu Dragnea showed up at the DNA early today accompanied by a group of mid-level PSD politicians, who gathered there "to show their support". He made no statement at the entrance to the DNA headquarters. He was welcomed by applause of at least 40 PSD members.