Romania's ex-anti-graft chief confirmed as EU's top prosecutor

Laura Codruta Kovesi was instrumental in launching fraud probes in Romania against ministers, lawmakers and local officials (AFP Photo/Daniel MIHAILESCU)

Brussels (AFP) - Romania's former anti-graft chief Laura Codruta Kovesi has been confirmed as the European Union’s first top fraud prosecutor, the European Parliament announced on Wednesday in an appointment that comes despite opposition from Bucharest.

Kovesi can now head the new European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO)for a seven-year term after a majority of EU member states, including the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, backed her nomination in September.

A total of 22 EU members are signed up to the EPPO, which aims to investigate suspected fraud involving the EU's budget.

It will be based in Luxembourg and will be composed of a panel of prosecutors from all participating countries, except the United Kingdom Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Ireland and Denmark.

Bucharest warned it would not back Kovesi, who became a household name as head of Romania's National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA), which she led from 2013 to 2018 before being controversially removed at the government's behest.

During her time as head of the DNA, she was instrumental in launching fraud probes in Romania against 14 former or current ministers, 43 lawmakers and more than 260 local officials.

Romanian authorities have compiled their own corruption accusations against Kovesi in a case criticised by Brussels.