A criminal investigation into Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has been started over allegations of corruption. The inquiry into Ponta’s activities is being directed from the headquarters of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
The DNA has accused Ponta of forgery, tax evasion and money laundering.
During the inquiry, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis asked for Ponta’s resignation, saying Ponta’s case has been “an impossible situation for Romania."
"As the PM is being indicted for corruption, this is a difficult situation for Romania. The worst thing that could happen right now in Romania is a political crisis. In such a context, I urge Prime Minister Ponta to resign,” Iohannis added.
Ponta denied Iohannis’ demand, saying he would not resign from his post. He also rejected the accusations and said the criminal case was set up by his political enemies.
"I respect his public position but I was appointed in the job by Romania's parliament and only parliament can dismiss me," he added.
DNA accused Ponta of using fake documents from a law firm to buy apartments and car when he worked as a lawmaker in the Social Democratic Party (PSD) between 2007 and 2008.
Investigators added that the law firm belongs to Ponta’s friend and former Infrastructure Projects of National Interest and Foreign Investment Minister Dan Sova, and Ponta received 40,000 euros from that firm although he did not work in there.
Ponta’s questioning has been a part of a general DNA investigation which resulted in the arrests of several politicians, judges, prosecutors and media moguls including Elena Udrea, a former minister of tourism and former presidential candidate.
Family members of Ponta have also been investigated regarding the same allegations.
Centre-left Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Victor Ponta has served as Romania’s president since 2012.
Romania’s anti-corruption agency (DNA) has been fighting against corrupt officials since 2014. Since its establishment, the DNA has investigated corruption and deficiency among politicians, government officials and business community, including the country’s Finance Minister Darius Valcov, as well as senior judges, prosecutors and media tycoons.
Ponta’s friend and former minister Sova has also been investigated for corruption, especially regarding allegations that he used his post to find clients for his law firm between 2007 and 2009.
Last week, the DNA asked for the lifting of Sova’s immunity. However, the parliament did not approve the measure.