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Romania’s Former Anti-Corruption Chief Named EU’s Prosecutor

She was such a scourge of corrupt politicians in her home country of Romania that they fought tooth-and-nail to oust her – finally succeeding – but have failed to keep Laura Codruta Kovesi from being named the European Union’s first anti-graft prosecutor.
It was a sweet comeback for Kovesi, who was fired over what she said were trumped-up charges of mismanagement and overstepping her authority. Retaliation had come from political figures Kovesi had gone after for wrongdoing so severe the government tried to make some bribery legal to avoid prosecution.
Outgoing EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said Kovesi’s appointment, agreed between the European Parliament and 22 of the bloc’s 28 countries, “is a strong signal that the EU is serious in fighting financial crime and in protecting the taxpayers’ money.”
It will take more than a year to get going. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) is due to begin at the end of 2020. The aim was to create an independent office that can investigate and bring to court crimes such as as fraud or corruption in the use of EU funds.
Kovesi’s supporters lauded her courage and success rate in Romania where repeated anti-corruption protests in support of her actions had failed to move the ruling Social Democrats to finally force her to be sacked, using judicial chicanery.
With the United Kingdom due to leave the EU at the end of October, five countries – Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Ireland and Denmark – still haven’t signed on.
The office will be based in Luxembourg, along with the Chief Prosecutor and a College of Prosecutors from all participating countries. The staff will oversee criminal investigations carried out by the delegated prosecutors in EU countries under its jurisdiction.
Kovesi’s office has “the competence to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment crimes against the EU budget, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud,” focused on the handling of funds distributed to countries in the bloc.

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