Romania launches new investigation into conduct of former anti-corruption chief

Romania’s justice ministry has opened a new investigation into the conduct of the country’s former anti-corruption chief, Laura Codruța Kövesi.

Ms Kövesi (pictured above, centre) was questioned for more than five hours in Bucharest on March 7, the same day that the European Parliament formally nominated her to become the first head of the newly-created European Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Romanian government opposes Kövesi’s candidacy and has become increasingly desperate in its attempts to prevent her getting the job. Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader this week took the unprecedented step of sending a letter to the Financial Times – which has publicly backed Ms Kövesi – to explain why the government believes she is not fit for the job.

Ms Kövesi was summoned for questioning about the way in which a convicted fraudster, Nicolae Popa, was extradited from Indonesia more than a decade ago, when Kövesi was a state prosecutor. During the interrogation she was informed that a new investigation had been launched to look into accusations that she led an organised crime group while anti-corruption chief. She denies any wrongdoing.

“There is a desperation to stop me in everything I do because of my candidacy for the European prosecutor’s job,” Ms Kövesi told reporters as she emerged from the offices of the Special Section for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Magistrates. “They summoned me on March 7 knowing that it would be the day the European Parliament would vote on my candidacy.”

The Special Section for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Magistrates is a highly contentious body that exists outside of Romania’s normal legal structures. It does not report to the country’s independent general prosecutor, but directly to Mr Toader. The Council of Europe’s Venice Commission has called on Romania to disband the unit.

On April 4, a delegation of Romanian prosecutors and judges will travel to Brussels to meet with European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans to formally complain about the political pressures being applied to the Romanian justice system. Prosecutors, magistrates and judges across the country have been holding intermittent strikes in protest against political interference for the past two weeks.

Photo: George Calin / Inquam Photos

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  • I am sorry to see … that you continue to spread disinformations … but your attitude is inconsequential … and without being able to pinpoint your reasons … let me assure that Ms. Kovesi … will answer for her crimes in accordance with the Romanian Justice System and no type of pressure that the european media or the PE is doing will change that … state of affairs. There are 18 Files involving Ms. Kovesi … at the Special Section for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Magistrates, and only 2 of them are currently in an open investigation. In the first one … she is accuse of bribery, abuse of power and perjury … and there are already many public materials to prove at least 2 of the charges … ‘perjury’ and ‘abuse of power’ … there is also proof that she asked and received half the sum necessary … to cover the expense of bringing Mr. Popa in the Country from a private contractor … which is against the Romanian Law and can be considered … bribery. In the second file … she is accused of leading and coordinating and organized crime group from inside her organization (DNA) … she gave orders and directives with her signature on it (also made public) … to procedures and action from some prosecutors that gravely breaks the law and normal procedures … ex. one of the prosecutors from her institution … assumed one or more ‘protected identity’ in the File which he himself was investigating … also use one witness (the same person) … with 4 or 5 ‘protected identities’. Ms. Kovesi knew about it and we have proof that she gave the … green light. Her former collaborators started to snitch on her … there is no way she can escape … what she done. And these are only 2 of the files. So you see … you are just … embarrassing yourself with these type of materials. Ms. Kovesi is investigate correctly … all her rights are respected, not like she did in the past … by an institution that it is sanctioned and empowered by law … The Special Section … does not function under the Authority of the Justice Ministry … as you misinform your readers … is an independent juridical body (just like DNA … Anti Corruption Department) … and all the magistrates from this body have been selected, voted and approved by CSM (the body that oversees and guarantees the Independence of the Justice System). An similar Section existed before … but was under the jurisdiction of DNA (Ms. Kovesi former institution) … and her only purpose was to put pressure on the Magistrates (Judges) to give decisions that Ms. Kovesi wanted … the only prosecutors to date … that the former Section investigate … was only prosecutors that Ms. Kovesi had an conflict with. The Romanian Law Maker , Main Institution … which is not … You, The Venetia Commission or the European Parliament (no offense) … but the Romanian Parliament … according with the Romanian Constitution … only took that Section from DNA’s authority … and give it an independent status … so we don’t have an conflict of interest anymore … and the magistrates’ responsibility … to be a real thing … not just something that exists only on paper. This thing was asked for … by 70-80% of romanians in all the polls that were made … by 3/4 major organizations that protect magistrates’ rights (only the prosecutors didn’t want it … and i’ve explained why) … Cleaning the Justice System … from the bad apples … is something the Magistrates want more then us … because a Justice System that had lost its credibility is no use to anyone. As for Ms. Kovesi … professional objectives … and leading the EPPO … they concern us the least … but is is the duty of the Ministry of Justice … to inform the decision factors … that MS. Kovesi … break the Romanian Law and Romanian Constitution numerous times … and we are a member state … and should be respected as such … not insulted … that she doesn’t met the professional qualifications for the job … i’ve read the regulation of EPPO … and it is required the the Highest Professional Degree in the domestic prosecutors … which she doesn’t have … this is obtained by exams … which she never took (her promotion were all political, by politicians) … or by derogation from CSM … which she didn’t get … contested the decision and that was rejected also. So we finally understand … what this EPPO is … Germany wants an individual (which cannot be associated with Germany) … to wash their dirty laundry. Unfortunately for Germany … Ms. Kovesi will answer according with the Romanian Law … for what she did (breaking the penal law) and can be proved in a Court of Law. And that’s all there is to it. Whatever … you think you are doing with these materials … will just show more and more romanians … what UE … stands for … abuse, disinformation, protecting criminals, the meta-citizenship concept, disrespecting the rights of member states … so please … Continue … the more people learn about you … The Better! Have a Nice Day! …:))