Most powerful man in Romania investigated in Brazil

Liviu Dragnea, leader of the governing Social-Democratic Party, considered the most powerful man in Romania, is being investigated for money laundering in Brazil as well as fraud in his own country.

Claudia Ciobanu
Claudia Ciobanu NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Source: Rise Project
Most powerful man in Romania investigated in Brazil - NewsMavens
Liviu Dragnea speaks to the media. Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Leaders like Dragnea try to cover up their dubious past by tightening their grip on power, to silence critics and kill off attempts to discover the truth. But this news story holds several lessons for them:

Firstly, investigative journalists will get you -- and if you try to silence local journalists, their colleagues abroad will pick up the threads. Faith in journalism has been restored and, as Slovakia's example shows, societies are ready to stand up for investigative media. 

Secondly, hiding money abroad is no longer as effective -- we've all wisened up since the Panama Papers.

Finally, even if you control the justice system in your own country (a feat Dragnea has been trying to accomplish these last month), there are prosecutors abroad who might still get you one way or another. 


Details from the story:

  • A multi-part journalistic investigation by RISE Project, Romania's star investigative outlet and part of the OCRRP network, and Brazil's main newspaper, Folha de Sao Paolo, revealed that Brazilian prosecutors are weighing money laundering charges against Liviu Dragnea. 
  • The investigation centers on whether Dragnea and his partners conducted business and bought property in Brazil with money that the Romanian politician and his partners obtained illegally in Romania. 
  • According to the article, Dragnea and partners own property in northeast Brazil on the Atlantic coast. 
  • Romanian prosecutors are also investigating Liviu Dragnea for fraud, suspecting him of having used public funds -- including EU money - for his own benefit.
  • Prosecutors in Romania contacted Brazilian authorities last year as part of their probe.
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