Romanian anti-graft prosecutors are accusing Senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu of having received "material benefits" amounting to some USD 800,000 when he served as prime minister a decade ago. According to sources, the charges are related to Austrian company Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbH, which was a distributor of Microsoft licenses at the time.

Calin Popescu Tariceanu Foto: Facebook

Tariceanu is leading the Liberal Democratic Alliance (ALDE), a key member of the governing coalition along the ruling Social Democrats (PSD). He is seen as a key leader of the coalition which for the past two years has pursued a policy of undermining the fight against corruption and weaken the judiciary.

  • Over the past several months, pundits claimed he has had a tenser relationship with PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, the House speaker, who also faces a series of corruption-related investigations and who has already received a criminal sentence for electoral fraud. Earlier this year, Tariceanu himself came clean of a case in which he was accused of lying testimony.

The National Anti-corruption Department (DNA), the main office in charge with investigating high level graft in Romania, has submitted a request to the Senate to allow a criminal investigation on Tariceanu. The request falls in line with existing regulation and has to be approved by the Senate - which Tariceanu leads as speaker - for the investigation to proceed.

  • At noon on Thursday, sources told that Tariceanu has postponed an official visit to Madrid starting today. He was due to attend a congress of the European LibDems (ALDE) there.

The new case involving Tariceanu resulted from three different criminal cases, including one which the DNA has taken over at the request of Austrian judicial authorities, the DNA has said.

The DNA said that the case is related to the electoral spending of money which came from a company which had received important commercial contracts with the Romanian state. Tariceanu, who was serving as prime minister at the time, is accused of intervening in favor of signing of additional documents to a contract run by the respective company.

Sources told that the Austrian company involved in the case is Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbG, which was distributing Microsoft licenses when Tariceanu was serving as PM a decade ago. The DNA did not mention the link officially, but Tariceanu himself referred to such information in his first reaction to the news of a new case.

He said on Wednesday evening that "a soup made more than 10 years ago is heated again and news is thrown to the media that I would be about to be investigated in the Microsoft case". He said that while he served as PM "no payment was made to Microsoft in the case of licenses referred to in the case".