An agency has fined Romania's president 600 lei ($185) for saying Roma avoid work and make a living by stealing.

The National Council for Combatting Discrimination first declined to take the case because President Traian Basescu had made his comments out of the country, during a 2010 news conference in Slovenia.

But the Supreme Court ordered the autonomous body under the control of Parliament to take the case, and on Monday it fined Basescu for having said "very few of them (Roma) want to work" and "traditionally many of them live off stealing." He did not immediately react to the ruling.

Romania officially has 620,000 Roma, also known as Gypsies, but the number is believed to be far higher because many do not declare their ethnicity to avoid widespread discrimination.