A Romanian anti-corruption watchdog has said it is under political pressure to drop its investigations of senior figures in the run-up to a December parliamentary election. The head of the National Integrity Agency (ANI) said politicians were trying to intimidate his organisation after it notified three ministers and a state official last week that it was investigating them for possible conflicts of interest.
“The political pressures we have recently seen are the most aggressive since ANI was founded,” Horia Georgescu told Reuters. “They are meant to discourage and intimidate the agency’s ongoing investigations.”
The ANI, set up after Romania joined the European Union five years ago, has been praised by Brussels but is resented by politicians at home. During the 2008-2012 parliamentary term, it discovered 42 lawmakers had conflicts of interest or had amassed dubious wealth.
Since Friday, when it notified the three ministers and the government’s deputy secretary general that they were under investigation, politicians have accused the ANI of trying to interfere with elections and making politicised decisions.