Romania: Opposition Party Leader Resigns Following Corruption Charge

A leader of Romania’s opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) resigned on Wednesday after being charged with influence peddling during his time as president of the nation’s Senate.

Conventia PD-L 2013 - Vasile Blaga 3Vasile Blaga (Photo: Razvan Socol, CC BY-SA 3.0Prosecutors announced Wednesday charges against Vasile Blaga and two others for an alleged scheme to secure kickbacks via state contracts.

The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) said that between 2011 and 2012, Blaga and then Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Vice President Gheorghe Stefan colluded to appoint trusted individuals to leading positions in state energy companies. The companies then awarded contracts to private firms that made contributions to the party in return.

Also named by prosecutors was businessman Horatiu Bruna Berdila, who was allegedly promised contracts in return for kickbacks to the then-ruling PDL.

Blaga was the president of the PDL from 2012 to 2014, and became a co-leader of the PNL after a merger between the two parties in 2014.

Prosecutors allege Blaga received €200,000 (US$ 224,390) from intermediaries during this period, as well as an additional €500,000 directly from Stefan.