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U.S. Slaps Travel Ban On Jailed Romanian Ex-Political Leader Dragnea

Former Romanian Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea (file photo)
Former Romanian Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea (file photo)

The United States has imposed a travel ban on Liviu Dragnea, the jailed former leader of Romania's ruling Social Democrats, and his immediate family members, saying they have been involved in "significant corruption."

The State Department said on September 5 that Dragnea and his two children -- Valentin and Maria -- are "ineligible for entry into the United States."

"Today's action sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to fighting corruption and supporting the rule of law in Romania," it said in a statement.

Romania's image in Western capitals, including Washington, has been damaged recently by political scandals that question the government's commitment to fighting corruption, analysts have said.

Dragnea, a former speaker of the lower house of parliament, is under investigation in a separate case on suspicion of forming a criminal group to siphon off cash from state projects.

The 56-year-old had previously been banned from becoming prime minister due to a conviction for vote-rigging, for which he received a two-year suspended sentence in 2016.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila, Dragnea's successor as head of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), will face off against President Klaus Iohannis in the first round of Romania’s presidential election scheduled for November 10.

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