Romanian labour minister sacked over corruption suspicions

Bucharest - Romanian President Traian Basescu dismissed Labour Minister Paul Pacuraru Tuesday after the state's anti- corruption prosecutor opened an investigation against him.

Pacuraru is suspected of corruption and abuse of office. Among other things he is suspected of intervening to secure state contracts for his son's business, news agency Mediafax reported Tuesday.

Parliament lifted Pacuraru's legal immunity in August, with the labour minister himself supporting the suspension.

Pacuraru, who is also a senator, belongs to the ruling PNL. He has repeatedly stated he is not guilty and said political opponents are behind the accusations against him.

The European Commission has repeatedly demanded more effective anti-corruption measures in Romania, a European Union member since 2007.

In July, the EU Commission accused both chambers of parliament - the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies - of systematically obstructing investigations against high-ranking politicians. (dpa)