BUCHAREST, Romania – Romanian prosecutors have charged the Senate speaker with making false statements to protect people standing trial in a real estate case involving a prince.
Anti-corruption prosecutors said Tuesday that Calin Popescu Tariceanu, prime minister in 2005-2008, made false statements under oath. They said Tariceanu hampered the investigation by denying knowledge of connections between Prince Paul Philippe and a politically connected businessman and others.
Tariceanu said it was “absurd that I would be suspected of trying to jeopardize my position in society by favouring people I don’t know or have no affinity with by lying. I will fight so that we don’t go back to the terror of the 1950s,” he said.
Tariceanu’s political ally Codrin Stefanescu, a lawmaker for the Social Democratic Party, called the development “a counterattack of the system against a person who has spoken out against the violation of human rights” by some institutions. He was referring to Tariceanu’s criticism of anti-corruption prosecutors who have successfully prosecuted dozens of politicians in recent years.
Liberal party leader Alina Gorghiu, however, called on Tariceanu to step down as Senate speaker, saying the charges are incompatible with his position.
Prince Paul, who is under house arrest, is standing trial on money- laundering charges, illicitly obtaining assets and buying influence. The prince, a nephew of King Michael, denies wrongdoing.
The prince is accused of illegally acquiring 64 hectares (158 acres) of state-owned land, costing the state 145 million euros ($164 million).
Romania’s monarchy ended when the communists came to power. Land had been confiscated from the royal family by the communist regime.
This story has been corrected to fix misspelling of Gorghiu.