Romania’s former premier appears in court for corruption


Former Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who quit his post earlier this week, has made his first appearance in court to hear corruption charges.

On Friday, Ponta appeared at the High Court of Justice in the capital, Bucharest, for a preliminary hearing on charges of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

Ponta has so far denied the charges, which go back to the period between 2007 and 2011, when he worked as a lawyer before he became premier in 2012.

The Friday court hearing saw charges against the former premier read out, and was part of a lengthy legal procedure against him.

Ponta stepped down on Wednesday after huge street protests sparked by a deadly club fire earlier this month in Bucharest that left 32 dead and nearly 200 others injured.

Reports said that the venue was overcrowded, lacked the required number of emergency exits and was not authorized to hold large numbers of people in the first place.

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