BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — 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. Prosecutors say Tariceanu hampered the investigation by denying knowledge of connections between a politically connected businessman and others with Prince Paul Philippe. Tariceanu hasn't commented.
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 were 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 who was forced to abdicate in 1947, 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 corrects earlier misspelling of GorghuiMarv