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Romanian Justice Minister faces corruption probe

The minister’s comments came a day after the DNA requested President Traian Basescu to authorize a criminal investigation against Chiuariu for alleged corruption.

Romania’s Justice Minister, Tudor Chiuariu, on Wednesday accused the government’s National Anti-corruption Department, DNA, of acting under political influence and of investigating cases “on a subjective basis”. The minister’s comments came a day after the DNA requested President Traian Basescu to authorise a criminal investigation against Chiuariu for alleged corruption. The prosecutors said that the Justice Minister and a former Minister of Telecommunications, Zsolt Nagy, had abused their positions “against the public interest” when in April they sold real estate owned by the national post office to a private company. Chiuariu described the prosecutors’ request as a form of “silly revenge”.

Disputes between Tudor Chiuariu and the DNA erupted soon after he took up his current duties in April. At that time, Chiuariu described DNA’s efforts as inconclusive because few officials had faced legal charges as a result of its investigations. Romanian legislation requires that probes into public officials and former ministers are approved by the president.

According to Transparency International’s corruption perception index, despite some progress made since 2004, Romania remains the most corrupt country in the EU. (by BIRN)

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkans programs of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR.