Will a suitcase found in a field bring down Romania's most powerful man?

Journalists from the RISE Project in Romania are now able to describe the details of the criminal network allegedly built by Liviu Dragnea, leader of the governing party, to siphon off public funds. How? They found the evidence in a suitcase. 

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Will a suitcase found in a field bring down Romania's most powerful man? - NewsMavens
Liviu Dragnea, Conferinta de presa la sediul PSD 2018, Wikimedia commons

Why this story matters:

With one conviction for referendum fraud and another appeal pending for a corruption conviction, Liviu Dragnea's position as the most powerful man in the country has been seriously wobbly. But the last blow has been long coming.

Some think it is finally being delivered these days via a peculiar means -- a suitcase found by a peasant in the fields of his village in Teleorman, part of Dragnea's fiefdom.

The suitcase was packed with data containing financial transactions, documents, personal photos and others, allowing the journalists to ouline in detail how Dragnea's network worked.

Needless to say, authorities are now threatening the RISE Project with a 20 million euro fine if they do not reveal their sources and share access to the data. 

Details from the story:

  • Journalists from RISE Projects, the main investigative outlet in Romania and part of many award-winning global media consortia, got an extraordinary break. 
  • On a field in Teleorman, Liviu Dragnea's county, someone found a suitcase in a field and brought it to RISE, according to the reporters. 
  • The suitcase seems to contain precisely the evidence that Dragnea's group had allegedly hidden from prosecutors in 2017 when they were being investigated for forming a criminal group to defraud public funds, including from the EU. It contains hard drives, tens of thousands of emails and photos. 
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