International media on PM Ponta being investigated

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BBC: Romania PM Victor Ponta quizzed over alleged corruption

 

Romanian prosecutors have questioned Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who is suspected of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.

The case, concerning Mr Ponta’s work as a lawyer in 2007-2008, is being handled by the anti-corruption agency DNA.

President Klaus Iohannis has urged Mr Ponta to resign, saying it was “an impossible situation for Romania”.

But Mr Ponta, who denies any wrongdoing, said only parliament can dismiss him.

The DNA investigation has also spread to Mr Ponta’s mother, sister, brother-in-law Iulian Hertanu and senator Ilie Sarbu, who is his father-in-law.

After speaking to the president on Friday, Mr Ponta said: “I respect his public position but I was appointed in the job by Romania’s parliament and only parliament can dismiss me.”

 

Novinite.com, Bulgaria: Romania’s PM Ponta Refuses to Resign amidst Corruption Probe

 

Romania’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta, under criminal investigation on corruprion charges, has rejected a call by President Klaus Iohannis to resign.

“Only the Parliament can dismiss me! I think the observance of constitutional principles is vital for our society,” Ponta wrote on his Facebook page after a meeting with Iohannis on Friday. “Under no circumstances can I accept a DNA prosecutor is above the Parliament, the Government and the citizens of this country,” Ponta said.

 

Reuters: Prosecutors launch criminal investigation against Romanian PM

 

Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors said on Friday they had launched a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Victor Ponta, naming him as a suspect in crimes including forgery, money-laundering, conflict of interest and tax evasion.

The shock announcement of the investigation came shortly before the opposition filed a no-confidence vote against Ponta’s left-leaning government. Although having lost allies in the wake of his presidential defeat in November, Ponta still commands an overall majority in parliament.

The inquiry into Ponta mainly concerns his time as a lawyer and accuses him of colluding with Dan Sova, a former transport minister in Ponta’s cabinet who had already previously been under investigation for corruption.

A separate investigation, announced by the DNA on Friday, targets suspected conflict of interest by Ponta during his time as prime minister.

 

The Guardian: Romanian prime minister faces calls to step down over corruption allegations

 

Romania’s president has urged the prime minister, Victor Ponta, to resign over corruption allegations including tax evasion and money-laundering.

Ponta, who was named as a suspect by prosecutors on Friday in crimes including forgery, money-laundering, conflict of interest and tax evasion, said he would not resign, and that only parliament could dismiss him.

But, after meeting Ponta on Friday, President Klaus Iohannis said it was “an impossible situation for Romania”. The prime minister had met earlier with the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, which has launched a criminal investigation against him.

The allegations relate to Ponta’s work as a lawyer from 2007 to 2008 when he was also a lawmaker for the Social Democratic party. The prime minister is the most prominent suspect to be identified as Romania’s anti-corruption drive has intensified in recent months.

 

Russia Today: Romanian President Iohannis asks PM Ponta to resign over corruption allegations

 

Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Friday urged Prime Minister Victor Ponta to resign over corruption allegations. They include tax evasion and money laundering. Ponta refused, saying that only parliament could dismiss him. Iohannis says that Romania could be embroiled in a political crisis if Ponta doesn’t quit. Prosecutors have asked parliament to impeach Ponta, and the allegations relate to his work as a lawyer from 2007 to 2008 when he was also a lawmaker for the Social Democratic Party.

 

Le Monde: Le premier ministre roumain visé par une enquête pour corruption

 

La Direction nationale anticorruption (DNA – l’agence anticorruption roumaine) a demandé, vendredi 5 juin, le lancement d’une procédure pénale contre le premier ministre, Victor Ponta (social-démocrate), soupçonné notamment de corruption, de complicité d’évasion fiscale, de blanchiment d’argent mais aussi de conflit d’intérêt, évasion fiscale et faux et usage de faux.

La DNA va saisir la chambre des députés pour « formuler les demandes de poursuites pénales contre Ponta Victor-Viorel», qui est également député, a expliqué l’agence dans un communiqué.

Le chef de l’Etat, Klaus Iohannis (conservateur), a annoncé dans la foulée avoir demandé la démission du premier ministre. Ces soupçons mettent le pays dans « une situation impossible», a déclaré M. Iohannis après s’être entretenu avec M. Ponta. « Le pire qui pourrait arriver est une crise politique», a-t-il déclaré.

Le premier ministre s’était rendu vendredi à l’agence anticorruption pour être entendu dans une affaire de corruption présumée concernant l’un de ses alliés politiques. Le premier ministre avait créé la sensation auprès des journalistes toujours présents devant le siège de la DNA en arrivant en compagnie d’un avocat. Il nie en bloc les soupçons qui pèsent sur lui.

 

Deutsche Welle: Corruption probe targets Romanian PM

 

Anti-graft authorities in Romania have pledged to investigate whether Prime Minister Victor Ponta laundered money, evaded taxes and made false statements while in office. On Friday, they opened a formal case against him.

Shortly after Ponta was spotted entering the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office on Friday, the premier confirmed to the press that he was suspected of a litany of corruption charges but struck a chord of defiance when he said he would not resign.

Meanwhile, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis implored Ponta to step down, saying allegations of forgery, money laundering, conflict of interest and being an accomplice to tax evasion amounted to “an impossible situation for Romania.”

Authorities’ success hinges on Ponta first being stripped of his immunity – something only parliament can do. Prosecutors have filed a formal request with lawmakers to prosecute Ponta.

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