EU anti-fraud watchdog says investigation against Dragnea - perfect example of positive cooperation with national authorities

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The probe against leader of Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Liviu Dragnea is "a perfect example of the positive cooperation between the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and national authorities," OLAF Acting Director-General Nicholas Ilett said on Monday after the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) announced having indicted Dragnea in the 'Tel Drum' case for creating an organised criminal group, misusing his position for personal gain and funds defrauding, in his former capacity as president of the Teleorman County Council.

"OLAF conducted thorough investigations that we hope will have a strong deterrent effect," Nicholas Ilett said, as cited in a release on the OLAF website.

The contribution of the EU anti-fraud watchdog to this outcome has been emphasized by the DNA. The DNA has explained that their case comes as a result of two investigations conducted by the OLAF into projects financed by the European Regional Development Fund for road construction in Romania, which were concluded in May and September 2016, the release informs.

OLAF found evidence suggesting collusion between the beneficiary of the funds, public officials and the contractor, including falsification of documents during the procurement procedure. Some of these documents were also used in support of the claim which the beneficiary submitted to the Managing Authority, resulting in the payment of EUR 21 million from European Union funds, the release further states.

"OLAF's investigations were concluded with a financial recommendation to the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, to recover the full 21 million euro, and with judicial recommendations to the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate to initiate judicial actions into the matter," the release concludes.AGERPRES(RO — author: Ionut Mares, editor: Irina Cristea; EN — author: Simona Klodnischi, editor: Maria Voican; online editor: Maria Voican)

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