Romania MPs reject lifting PM’s immunity for graft probe

Prime Minister Victor PontaRomania’s parliament voted Tuesday against stripping Prime Minister Victor Ponta of his immunity, as called for by anti-graft prosecutors who want to proceed with a corruption case against him.

The result of 231 votes against and 120 in favour of waiving his immunity was unsurprising given the domination of Ponta’s centre-left coalition.

The DNA anti-corruption prosecutors announced Friday that they had launched a probe into the social democrat premier over suspected money laundering and tax evasion.

Investigators are targeting Ponta’s activities from 2007-2011 when he was working as a lawyer and a lawmaker, and also suspect him of conflict of interest while serving as prime minister.

Ponta has refused to step down over the allegations and said the case has been orchestrated by the opposition.

This probe is the latest in a string of anti-corruption enquiries carried out by the powerful DNA, probes that have led to several influential Romanians losing their jobs over the past months.

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