Romanian parliament OKs probe of ex-minister indicted for money-laundering; others probed

Romania's Parliament voted Wednesday to allow a formal criminal investigation of a former presidential candidate accused of money-laundering and making false statements.

A parliamentary committee voted 20-1 to allow prosecutors to investigate Elena Udrea, one of the most influential politicians of the past decade.

She is being probed on suspicion she failed to declare money she received in 2010 from her then-husband, as she is required to do as a lawmaker.

Since her indictment last week she has accused a senior intelligence officer of meddling in Romania's political life and threatened to release damning information on politicians and journalists.

Udrea has denied wrongdoing. Her ex-husband, Dorin Cocos, is charged with taking a bribe of 9 million euros ($10.1 million).

A former tourism minister, Udrea, 41, gained notoriety because of her close relationship with Traian Basescu, president from 2004 to 2014.

Also Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis approved a request to prosecute Adriean Videanu, economy minister from 2008 to 2010, on charges that he helped embezzle the state by offering illegal discounts in natural gas to a private gas company which had debts to the state. Videanu is also an ally of Basescu.

Meanwhile, media boss Adrian Sarbu was arrested late Tuesday for 30 days on charges of tax evasion and money-laundering worth 3 million euros ($3.4 million). He denies wrongdoing and claims the charges are motivated by political rivals who want to take over his financially struggling news agency, Mediafax.