The chairman of the ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD), Liviu Dragnea denied all new charges brought by the anti-corruption prosecutors in the TelDrum file.
“I absolutely deny all charges. I maintain my stances, that I have no connections with this company. We’ll see what these statements are based on. Part of the deeds have been already investigated, I understand they refer to an European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigation in 2001,” Dragnea stated.
The National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) announced on Monday that Liviu Dragnea is criminally prosecuted for fraud against European Union (EU) funds, for creating an organised criminal group, and for abuse of office related to favoring Tel Drum in assigning contracts while he was head of the Teleorman county council.
The file has been opened following a notification sent by the European Anti-Fraud Office to the prosecutors on September 30, 2016 over suspicions of illegal EU funding for rehabilitation works on county roads.
OLAF has conducted two investigations into projects financed by the European Regional Development Fund for road construction in Romania, which were concluded in May and September 2016. OLAF found evidence suggesting collusion between the beneficiary of the funds, public officials and the contractor, including falsification of documents during the procurement procedure. Some of these documents were also used in support of the claim which the beneficiary submitted to the Managing Authority, resulting in the payment of EUR 21 million from European Union funds.
Dragnea: There is no PSD member without a fabricated file. Iohannis is the political beneficiary
The SocDem chairman denounced that the DNA “has pulled out the heavy artillery” against him, as the previous court case on the referendum had not reached its target, the one that a more “good-humoured” team should have taken over the party for the last local and parliamentary elections.
“Let us remember what happened in 2016, when, after being convicted in the referendum case, where I was supposed to give in, and probably there was a team ready to take over the party and stay good-humoured in that electoral year, “Dragnea told Romania TV private broadcaster.
He added that, in his view, there is no member of the PSD leadership that shouldnt’ have a “fabricated file”, which is in President Klaus Ioahnnis’ political benefit. Moreover, Dragnea said that the Social Democrat ministers are also targeted.
Asked who has to gain from all these files, Dragnea answered: “It’s in the benefit of Iohannis and the system”, denouncing what he called “a parallel, illegitimate power system that has been operating in Romania for years.” As for his case in particular, he believes that “Iohannis is the political beneficiary”.
“It’s not need for Iohannis to order something, is he doesn’t understand that, as the system had let into Traian Basescu, it will go into him as well at some point, it’s his problem.”
Senate Speaker Tariceanu: Iohannis generated “Talibanism” climate
In his turn, Senate Speaker, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Dragnea’s ruling coalition partner, has also launched a tough attack against President Iohannis and the opposition parties, saying they have generated a “Talibanism” climate and that they are inciting to protests. In his view, ‘the parallel state’ is dynamiting Romania’s durable development goals.
Presidency retorts: President Iohannis wants a strong, indepedent judiciary
After the PSD chairman’s accusations against the Romanian head of state, the spokeswoman of the Presidency, Madalina Dobrovolshi, retorted that President Klaus Iohannis wants “a strong, indepdent judiciary.” “The beneficiary of it is the society,” Dobrovolschi added.
“There is no parallel state in Romania, it’s an invention of those who have legal problems. Regarding this beneficiary, a real beneficiary of a healthy system, when we talk about the rule of law, cannot be but the society. The President cares about these things very much,” the spokeswoman stated.
She didn’t answer the question if the President had asked for Liviu Dragnea’s resignation or if Iohannis had talked with Dragnea on the phone. “I won’t make further comments. If it had been an official discussion, it would have been definitely mentioned to you.”
Ex-president Basescu asks Dragnea to resign from the Parliament
Former president Traian Basescu, currently chairman of the PMP, has urged Liviu Dragnea on Tuesday to follow his lead and resign from the Parliament in order to prove that he is not making ‘out of the parliamentary immunity a shield for illegalities”.
“What do you say, Dragnea, have you got the guts?”, Basescu asked.
Traian Basescu resigned from the Parliament on April 9, 1996 in order to be investigated in the fleet file, but he won a new MP mandate in the general elections several months later, on November 3, 1996.