Victor Ponta named as suspect in crimes including forgery, money-laundering, conflict of interest and tax evasion.
Romania’s prime minister is under pressure to resign after being indicted for forgery, tax evasion, and money laundering as part of a far-reaching anti-corruption drive by state prosecutors.
Victor Ponta, who has been prime minister since 2012, has refused to resign, saying only parliament could dismiss him, but the president, Klaus Iohannis, called for him to step down yesterday. Iohannis, who beat Ponta in presidential elections in November, said it was “an impossible situation for Romania”.
Parliament is due to vote next week on whether or not to lift Ponta’s immunity from prosecution. If it votes to shield him, political observers predict it will trigger a constitutional crisis, pitting prime minister and parliament against the president and the judiciary.
Ponta was called in to the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in Bucharest yesterday, to be presented with an extensive charge sheet. He is accused of filing forged invoices for a total of $45,000 for work he did not do in 2007 and 2008, when he was a lawyer.