Ex-minister charged with corruption in Romania

Bucharest  - Romanian prosecutors Monday filed corruption charges against former Agriculture Minister Traian Decebal Remes.

The minister, who was forced to resign in October 2007 after only six months in office, is accused of abuse of his official position and accepting bribes.

Remes is alleged to have received 15,000 euros (23,000 dollars) as well as 400 euros' worth of food from a businessman in exchange for helping him obtain a lucrative government contract.

Court documents showed the money was allegedly handed over to Remes by another former agriculture minister, Ioan Avram Muresan, who was also charged as an accessory.

A secretly taken film showing Remes accepting an envelope from Muresan at a Bucharest cafe was shown on state television TVR, leading to the minister's resignation.

The channel also broadcast a recording of a telephone conversation between the then minister and the businessman in which it was mentioned that the envelope contained 15,000 euros.

The European Union has called for tougher action against corruption in Romania, which joined the bloc in January 2007. The EU commission accused Bucharest of dragging its feet in prosecuting bribery at the highest level. (dpa)