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Romania's prime minister indicted on corruption charges

Published:Friday | September 18, 2015 | 9:00 AM

BUCHAREST (AP):

Romanian prosecutors yesterday formally indicted Prime Minister Victor Ponta on corruption charges, including tax evasion and money-laundering, and said he will be tried by the country's top court.

Ponta won't be arrested, Livia Sapalcan, the spokeswoman for the anti-corruption prosecutors' office told The Associated Press.

The 42-year-old Ponta is the first sitting Romania prime minister to be indicted and have his assets seized. He denies wrongdoing and has refused to resign, saying he wants to remain prime minister until the December 2016 parliamentary election.

Ponta defended his record as prime minister in a Facebook posting, saying his policies had led to economic growth, adding "the only problem the country has is the obsession of a totally unprofessional prosecutor who wants to make a name for himself inventing and imagining facts and false situations which happened 10 years ago", followed by a smiley emoticon.

Four other people have also been indicted in the case and will stand trial.

There was no immediate comment from Ponta, who was attending a meeting of the country's top defence body to discuss Hungary's plan to build a fence along part of its border with Romania to deter migrants. Romania opposes the idea.