Romanian president requests probe of ex-prime minister suspected of taking $800,000 bribes

Foto: Inquam Photos / George Calin

President Klaus Iohannis has formally requested a probe of a former Romanian prime minister whom prosecutors want to investigate on suspicion of taking a bribe of $800,000 in exchange for passing legislation to help a company.

Mr Iohannis wrote to Justice Minister Stelian Ion on Wednesday asking him to set in motion a criminal investigation against Calin Popescu Tariceanu who was premier from December 2004 to December 2008

Romania’s anti-corruption unit said this week it wants to investigate Mr. Tariceanu.

It is the second attempt by the National Anticorruption Directorate to pursue charges against Mr. Tariceanu. He denies wrongdoing.

The president needed to sign off on an investigation as Mr Tariceanu, 68, is a former high-ranking official.

Last week, Mr. Iohannis asked prosecutors to pursue bribe charges against former Environment Minister Costel Alexe. He denies wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the president said that people corruption suspects „have no place in public office.”

Prosecutors say Mr. Tariceanu is suspected of receiving illicit benefits worth 800,000 U.S. dollars from an unnamed Austrian company from 2007-2008 when he was premier in exchange for passing legislation in favor of the company.

He says the case is politically motivated and he didn’t receive “a penny” from Microsoft which he says is the company in question.

The latest request came after Parliament rejected a 2018 request by prosecutors in 2019 to probe the former prime minister who was a Senator at the time.

Prosecutors have higher chances prosecuting Mr. Tariceanu who failed to win a seat in Parliament.

„As a result of the administration of additional evidence, new elements have emerged that have outlined the above-mentioned state of affairs with reference to the former dignitary,” reads the new request.

Criminal proceedings have begun against other suspects who were sent to trial.


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