Corruption accusations over Blair's visit to Bucharest

Did Romania's then prime minister Victor Ponta accept 200,000 euros in bribes to invite former British PM Tony Blair? The prosecution in Bucharest is currently investigating the matter. The money is said to have been provided by a media mogul to whom Ponta had promised a seat in parliament. Commentators believe the story is plausible.

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România Liberă (RO) /

Ponta used Blair to clear his name

Ponta used Blair to restore his badly tarnished reputation back then, România Liberă rants:

“The visit, which Ponta milked for all he could in the election campaign, was part of an unprecedented image campaign. Ponta had just been unmasked as a plagiarist and he badly needed to clear his name as co-author of heavy-handed judicial manipulation [in the course of impeachment proceedings against then president Traian Băsescu] which placed Romania firmly among the banana republics. The media mogul Sebastian Ghiță [head of television channel RTV] gave Ponta 200,000 euros to use Tony Blair as polish up his reputation. … Millions of naïve Romanians who saw Ponta as the saviour of the nation back then swallowed this lie and went to bed comforted by this thought. And instead of saying 'good night' they told themselves that Ponta must be a good boy to have such a well-known European leader visit him.”

Digi 24 (RO) /

A Labour man with a ruined reputation

Blair is hardly the man to brush up anyone's image, Digi24 counters, examining the long list of allegations against him:

“Before Tony Blair re-emerged in this new case involving Victor Ponta the British press had already written plenty about an entire system the former prime minster had developed to exploit his international high-ranking official posts to meet rich clients. Millions of pounds were raised through a labyrinth of diplomatic activities, lobbyism, consulting, lectures at Yale University and of course charity events, as The Times reported in its Sunday edition of April 2016. … We're talking here about a Labour leader who has made huge profits through politics. We can only guess at the size of his fortune - a fortune that grew at the same rate as Blair's reputation diminished.”