Europe

Romania: 1,300 officials prosecuted for graft last year

  • Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA), right, stands next to Romanian President Klaus Iohhanis, as the national anthem is played before the presentation of the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Kovesi said nearly 1,300 officials were sent to trial last year in corruption cases with damages amounting to 260 million euros ($273 million) adding that prosecutors need predictable laws to do their job. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA), right, stands next to Romanian President Klaus Iohhanis, as the national anthem is played before the presentation of the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Kovesi said nearly 1,300 officials were sent to trial last year in corruption cases with damages amounting to 260 million euros ($273 million) adding that prosecutors need predictable laws to do their job. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA), returns to her seat after presenting the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Kovesi said nearly 1,300 officials were sent to trial last year in corruption cases with damages amounting to 260 million euros ($273 million) adding that prosecutors need predictable laws to do their job. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA), returns to her seat after presenting the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. Kovesi said nearly 1,300 officials were sent to trial last year in corruption cases with damages amounting to 260 million euros ($273 million) adding that prosecutors need predictable laws to do their job. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • A television reporter waits before a presentation by Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA) of the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the ornate Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.  (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    A television reporter waits before a presentation by Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, who heads the country's anti-graft agency (DNA) of the unit's annual report to senior judges, prosecutors and magistrates, at the ornate Military Circle, in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

Romania's chief anti-corruption prosecutor says nearly 1,300 officials were sent to trial last year in corruption cases with damages amounting to 260 million euros ($273 million).

Laura Kovesi Codruta, who heads the country's anti-graft agency, said Thursday prosecutors need predictable laws to do their job.

Last month, the government issued a highly contentious decree that would have decriminalized official misconduct, sparking weeks of massive anti-graft protests. Premier Sorin Grindeanu eventually canceled the measure. Kovesi said: "We want to fight corruption" but "efforts need to be sustained by a stable legislative and institutional framework."

President Klaus Iohannis called Romania's anti-corruption drive, praised by Western allies, "necessary.... if we want a modern state."

Kovesi said three ministers, 17 lawmakers, 16 magistrates and other officials were among high-level cases targeted by the agency last year.