Romanian PM who is suspect in corruption probe says he will stay on to ensure stability

Romania's prime minister says he considered resigning after being informed that he was a suspect in a corruption probe but decided to stay on to ensure political stability.

Victor Ponta said Tuesday the resignation of his government would cause a "political crisis ... of three, four, five months."

Parliament is to vote Tuesday on whether to lift his immunity protection for the corruption probe. His center-left government faces a vote of no-confidence on Friday.

On June 5, anti-corruption prosecutors said Ponta was suspected of corruption charges including being an accomplice to tax evasion from 2007 to 2008 while serving in Parliament, a conflict of interest and money laundering.

Ponta told foreign media Tuesday he would cooperate with prosecutors and denied wrongdoing, adding that he would have resigned if he were a minister

President Klaus Iohannis, a political rival, called on Ponta to resign last week. Iohannis said he would prefer the whole government to resign, not just Ponta.

Ponta told journalists that the political crisis was an "an unexpected gift" for Russia which has cool relations with Romania.