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Romanian Court Summons Leading Candidate for EU Prosecutor Job

Romanian authorities raise the stakes in bid to derail the career of country’s former chief graft buster.

1 March 2019

Laura Codruta Kovesi (pictured), who as Romania’s chief corruption fighter won high praise from the European Union, has been summoned to a 7 March court hearing over allegations of corruption, Euractiv reports.

 

Fired in July 2018 from the top post in Romania's National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) after overseeing many probes into politicians and officials, Kovesi has been locked in a row with the Romanian government, which accuses her of abuse of office and giving false testimony, AFP writes.

 

Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader issued a report a year ago accusing her of various failings, such as damaging Romania’s image abroad by talking to the international media about widespread corruption and the government’s part in it, as the ruling Social Democratic Party renewed its attacks against Kovesi after she submitted her candidacy for the position of EU Chief Prosecutor, Romania Insider writes.

 

Kovesi is expected to appear in court in Bucharest on 7 March, the same day that the European Parliament and member states will meet to discuss the new post of chief prosecutor, AFP reports. She previously appeared in court last month.

 

“It's obvious that, through this method, someone is trying to stop me from participating in this procedure and from getting this position,” Kovesi told a radio station two weeks ago, Romania Insider reported.

 

Despite her government’s efforts to derail her appointment to the post, Kovesi enjoys the backing of the European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Bloomberg writes.

 

While she enjoys the firm backing of many MEPs,  member states last week threw their support behind the French candidate Jean-Francois Bohnert.

 

The two sides will try to reach a compromise at the 7 March talks according to Euractiv.

 

“It’s going to be a very challenging discussion,” civil rights committee chair Claude Moraes told Bloomberg. The committee voted 26-22 in favor of Kovesi over Bohnert, with one member voting for Andres Ritter of Germany.

 

 

  • Kovesi was not only the first woman to be Romania’s general prosecutor but also the country’s youngest, taking the post at the age of 33, Romania Insider writes.

 

  • The parliament’s budget committee also voted in favor of Kovesi’s candidacy.

 

  • The EU chief prosecutor’s office is expected to be operational at the end of 2020. Its initial brief will be to oversee investigations and criminal cases touching on crimes against the EU budget such as fraud, corruption, or cross-border VAT fraud.

Compiled by Rose Joy Smith

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