Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta was indicted by prosecutors on Monday as part of a wide-ranging sweep. Ponta has been accused of charges including tax evasion, money laundering, conflict of interest and making false statements relating to his time as a lawyer in 2007 and 2008.
Ponta was also a lawmaker for the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD) during the period in question. He allegedly forged invoices from a law firm to finance the purchases of luxury apartments and a sports car. President Klaus Iohannis in June called on Ponta to resign, but he refused to do so. Ponta did, however, give up his role as PSD president on Sunday. He has denied any wrongdoing.
"There's a new situation I have to react to: PSD's president is investigated by DNA (doesn't matter how and why!) Other colleagues of ours have temporarily given up their political positions to clear up their legal statuses. I can't ask others to make a sacrifice that I'm not willing to make," Ponta said in a letter, according to Romania Insider.
The investigation against him was started in early June by the country's National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), which has nabbed several senior Romanian politicians in recent months.
It was not immediately clear if Ponta would be arrested. His position grants him immunity from some of the charges, including conflict of interest, but he remains liable to arrest for tax evasion and money laundering charges. Ponta survived a no-confidence vote and a motion to remove his immunity in June.
Ponta, who is recovering from a knee operation, was questioned by prosecutors Monday morning but he refused to answer questions after the talks were over, citing his right to remain silent, according to the Associated Press.