Romanian cabinet minister faces corruption probe

Labour Minister Paul PacuraruBucharest - Romanian anti-graft prosecutors Friday asked parliament to let them investigate  for alleged corruption, news reports said.

Prosecutors allege Pacuraru took a bribe in exchange for appointing a regional labour official and steered government contracts to his son's company, the Mediafax news agency reported.

Pacuraru denies the allegations. He said he welcomed the chance to prove his innocence, Realitatea television reported.

Based on preliminary evidence, President Traian Basescu in January urged that Pacuraru and seven former senior government officials be prosecuted.

Romania's Constitutional Court, the country's highest, ruled in March that prosecutors need a Senate vote of approval to investigate current or former cabinet ministers who have seats in parliament.

Romania joined the European Union last year, but the former communist nation is under EU pressure to fight corruption and reform its legal system. (dpa)

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