Romania’s government has recalled the consul to Berlin after his name appeared in a corruption case related to the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Anti-corruption prosecutors said that the consul Gheorghe Dimitrescu, who was then a parliamentary adviser, paid for the then chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Liviu Dragnea to attend Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Following the visit to the U.S, Mr. Dragnea then used his influence to get Gheorghe Dimitrescu appointed as consul to Berlin in January 2018, the National Anticorruption Directorate said.
Prosecutors say that the value of the alleged influence-peddling includes a 250,000 dollars fee for attending the ceremony and meeting high-level American officials, 30,000 dollars in consultancy fees, and 100,000 dollars for lobby not related to the ceremony.
Mr. Dragnea didn’t pay any fees to attend the ceremony, prosecutors said. He has not commented on the allegations.
Mr Dragnea is currently serving a 3 ½ year sentence over a fake jobs case, where he made the local social welfare office pay the salaries of two women for six years who were actually working for the Social Democrats.
The National Anticorruption Directorate is also investigating the former strongman in the latest case on suspicion of influence peddling.
Prime Minister Florin Citu announced that Mr Dimitrescu was being recalled at a government meeting on Friday, national news agency Agerpres reported.
Romania’s president names the country’s ambassadors, while the government is responsible for the appointment of consuls.
At the time of his visit, Mr Dragnea was head of the Social Democratic Party and speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
Prosecutors charge the visit to the U.S. was a bribe merely to secure Gheorghe Dimitrescu the job as consul.