Former Romanian strongman loses case against the European Commission over EU funds fraud

Liviu Dragnea
Foto: Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea

The EU court has dismissed a case filed by former leader of Romania’s Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea. who sued the European Commission over an investigation into EU fund fraud.

The European Court of Justice said in its ruling earlier this month that “in the light of all the foregoing, the action must be dismissed as inadmissible in its entirety,” and ordered Dragnea to pay all costs.

In January 2019, Dragnea, who at the time was Romania’s most powerful politician, filed a lawsuit against Brussels, after claims of corruption involving EU funds.

But on May 27, 2019, a Bucharest court sentenced Dragnea to 3 ½ years in prison in a separate corruption case involving fake jobs for party workers. He was sent to prison and lost his position as party chairman.

Since then, efforts to get his sentence overturned have failed. He is serving his sentence at Bucharest’s Rahova prison.

In the EU fund fraud case, the Romania’s anti-corruption directorate (DNA) accused Dragnea, then leader of the then ruling Social Democrats (PSD), of a 21 million-euro scam.

It based its allegations against Dragnea on investigations by the European Commission’s anti-fraud office, OLAF.

Dragnea rejected the claims and moved to sue the commission because it is OLAF’s supervisory body.

The case was filed at the European Court of Justice. DNA said the EU-funds fraud was linked to a road construction firm called Tel Drum in Teleorman county where he was the top county official.

In November 2018, investigative journalists claimed a suitcase full of documents discarded in a rural Romanian field linked Dragnea to Tel Drum..

The lawsuit was filed after Romania took control of the EU’s rotating presidency on January 1, 2019.

The DNA indicted Dragnea in 2018 on charges of being part of a criminal group. The investigations were suspended during a two-month state of emergency imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the office’s chief prosecutor, Crin Bologa said.


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