Romanian lawmakers OK prosecution of ex-tourism minister

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2015 3:55 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Romanian Parliament on Wednesday approved a request by prosecutors to detain and prosecute a former tourism minister who is being investigated on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.

Lawmakers voted 193-106 to allow the prosecution of Elena Udrea, once one of the country's most influential politicians. They later voted 123-119 to let prosecutors detain her for 24 hours. They rejected, however, prosecutors' request to arrest her during the investigation.

Udrea was Romania's tourism and regional development minister from 2008 to 2012 and a close aide to former President Traian Basescu. Prosecutors said she is suspected of receiving $3.8 million in 2012 from a businessman in the energy sector in exchange for allowing him to control an electricity provider. Prosecutors said she is also suspected of making false statements, influence peddling and abusing her position.

Udrea denies wrongdoing, saying prosecutors are meddling in politics and harming Romania's image.