BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's president has backed the chief anti-corruption prosecutor after critics sought to get her fired amid a growing scandal over the country's anti-graft drive.
President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday there was no reason to suspend Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. "I am very happy with the anti-corruption directorate," Iohannis said.
European Union and U.S. officials have praised Romania's drive to uproot corruption but Kovesi has earned many enemies among Romania's elite who have been targeted by the battle.
The U.S. Ambassador to Romania, Hans G. Klemm, on Tuesday praised Romania's efforts to eradicate high-level corruption at a July 4 Independence Day reception.
"I want to applaud you and your courageous efforts in Romania to fight corruption and defend the rule of law," Klemm said. "This work is necessary to create an environment where trade and commerce can flourish and where citizens can prosper. We support Romania very strongly and support that fight on corruption."
The latest criticism of Kovesi came after she fired a prosecutor on the grounds that he was acquainted with someone he was investigating. She also dismissed another prosecutor who allegedly failed to inform her boss about a complaint filed.
Critics said the dismissals reflected badly on her activity as chief anti-corruption prosecutor, a position she has held since 2013.
A television station also broadcast a tape where Kovesi allegedly called for an unnamed prime minister to be prosecuted. She has denied wrongdoing and the anti-corruption agency said the tape was "distorted."
Iohannis said he wanted "urgent, pertinent clarifications" about the allegation, suggesting that it could be a scandal cooked up by the chief prosecutor's critics.