Court to prosecute Romanian MEP accused of graft

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Romania's anti-corruption court (DNA) announced Friday that it had launched criminal proceedings against European MEP Adrian Severin, who is accused of accepting bribes for favours.

According to a statement from the DNA, prosecutors launched "criminal proceedings against Adrian Severin, member of the European Parliament, for 'receiving bribes' to 'influence decision making'."

Prosecutors asked for Severin's immunity to be lifted in April.

Severin has denied the accusations, saying he has "no reason to resign" but stood down from his post as vice-president of the opposition Social Democrat Party (PSD) while the European Parliament leads an inquiry into the accusations.

Severin and two other MEPs -- Slovenian Zoran Thaler and Austrian Ernst Strasser -- were accused of corruption after British newspaper the Sunday Times reported that the three had pretended to be lobbyists, "offering their services" for sums of up to 100,000 euros.

Thaler and Strasser both resigned following publication of the report.

© 2011 AFP

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