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Romania names regional prosecutor for top anti-graft post

September 6, 2018

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s justice minister on Thursday chose a regional prosecutor to head the country’s anti-corruption agency, a highly scrutinized post in one of the most graft-riddled countries in the European Union.

The ministry said Justice Minister Tudorel Toader had proposed Adina Florea, a senior prosecutor in the Black Sea city of Constanta, to head the National Anti-Corruption Directorate.

Florea told Digi24 TV the job would be “a challenge,” brushing aside suggestions she would come under outside pressure in the role, as her predecessor had. “I haven’t had pressure on me in 28 years, and it’s hard to believe there will be pressure on me” now, she said.

If appointed, Florea will replace Laura Codruta Kovesi, who was fired in July on allegations of mismanagement.

She had been praised by the European Union, the U.S. and many Romanians for tackling high-level graft. The left-wing government however criticized her leadership saying the agency unfairly went after politicians.

In her application, Florea said Romania had made progress in the anti-corruption fight, but was critical also of the agency, saying it had prioritized some cases over others. She suggested top prosecutors had not acted in a balanced way and had even acted illegally, without directly naming Kovesi or giving examples.

Florea’s appointment needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of Magistrates and President Klaus Iohannis.

Romanians have regularly staged anti-corruption protests since the Social Democrats won election in 2016, opposing a judicial overhaul they say will make it much harder to prosecute high-level corruption.

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