Laura Codruța Kövesi
Laura Codruța Kövesi
|European Chief Prosecutor|
|Assumed office |
31 October 2019
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate|
17 May 2013 – 9 July 2018
|Preceded by||Daniel Morar|
|Succeeded by||Marius Iacob (Acting)|
|Prosecutor General of Romania|
2 October 2006 – 2 October 2012
|Preceded by||Ilie Botoș|
|Succeeded by||Tiberiu Nițu|
Laura Codruța Lascu
15 May 1973
Sfântu Gheorghe, Covasna County, Romania
University of Sibiu
West University of Timișoara
Laura Codruța Kövesi (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈla.ura koˈdrut͡sa ˈkøveʃi]; born Laura Codruța Lascu; May 15, 1973) is the first European Chief Prosecutor and the former chief prosecutor of Romania's National Anticorruption Directorate (Romanian: Direcția Națională Anticorupție - DNA), a position she held from 2013 until she was fired on the order of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on 9 July 2018. Prior to this, between 2006 and 2012 Kövesi was the Prosecutor General of Romania (Romanian: Procuror General), attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Upon appointment in 2006, Kövesi was the first woman and the youngest Prosecutor General in Romania's history. She is also the only public servant to have held the office of Prosecutor General for the entire duration of its term.
Kövesi was described by The Guardian in 2015 as a "quiet, unassuming chief prosecutor who is bringing in the scalps", leading "an anti-corruption drive quite unlike any other in eastern Europe – or the world for that matter". Her tenure as head of the DNA has substantially increased public confidence in the institution, both within Romania and across the EU, with a 2015 poll reporting that a high 60% of Romanians trust the DNA (compared to 61% for the Romanian Orthodox Church and only 11% for the parliament). In February 2016, Kövesi was renominated for chief prosecutor by the Ministry of Justice, based on the positive results achieved under her leadership.
In early 2018, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader proposed her dismissal as DNA chief prosecutor after presenting a report on her managerial activity at DNA based on 20 categories and allegations. Among the accusations were: excessive authoritarian behavior, discretion of the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA, involvement in other prosecutors' inquiries, prioritization of the files according to the media impact, violating the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Romania and signing illegal agreements with the Secret Services. President Iohannis initially refused to dismiss her, but a Constitutional Court decision forced him to do so, stating that he can only verify its legality, not the arguments that lead to the proposal.
Life and studies
Born in Sfântu Gheorghe as Laura Codruța Lascu, Kövesi played professional basketball in her youth, at the club in Mediaș and in Sibiu, and was selected for the junior players national team which finished second in the 1989 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship for Women. Between 1991 and 1995, she studied Law at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj Napoca. In 2012, Kövesi graduated with a Ph.D. in Law (for which she studied at the West University of Timișoara) with a thesis on combating organized crime.
Between 15 September 1995 and 1 May 1999, Kövesi was a prosecutor for the Court in Sibiu.
Between May 1999 and October 2012, Kövesi led the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) branch in Sibiu County.
On 2 October 2012, she replaced Ilie Botoș as the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor's Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Direcția Națională Anticorupție (National Antigraft Agency)
Under Kövesi's leadership, the DNA made notable progress against high-level corruption in Romania. having prosecuted dozens of mayors (such as Sorin Oprescu), five MPs, two ex-ministers and a former prime minister in 2014 alone. Hundreds of former judges and prosecutors were also brought to justice, with a conviction rate above 90%. In 2015, 12 members of parliament were investigated, including ministers: "we have investigated two sitting ministers, one of whom went from his ministerial chair directly to pre-trial detention", Kövesi said.
As a result of the 2015 DNA yearly report, Kövesi declared that 431 million euros in bribes was the amount given in the cases that were presented to the Court.
Victor Ponta, former prime minister of Romania and the highest-ranking government official currently under DNA investigation and prosecution, accused Kövesi of being "a totally unprofessional prosecutor trying to make a name by inventing and imagining facts and untrue situations from 10 years ago". These comments were posted on his Facebook page, following his indictment on charges of forgery, money laundering, and tax evasion, brought against him by the DNA.
In 2018, the Social Democratic Party-led government established the "Department for Investigating Judicial Offences" to investigate prosecutors. This was criticized by the Venice Commission, who considered that they would likely undermine the independence of the Romanian prosecutors and judges and public confidence in the judiciary.
Nevertheless, the government pushed forward, and, on 13 February 2019, Laura Codruța Kövesi was summoned by this institution as a suspect in a case in which the allegations are malfeasance in office, bribery and false testimony, following a complaint by Sebastian Ghiță, a fugitive politician and businessman prosecuted for corruption. On 7 March 2019, Kövesi was summoned and questioned by the prosecutors of the Department for Investigating Judicial Offences; at the end she was notified that she was a suspect in a second, different investigation, where she was accused of coordinating an "organized group of prosecutors" which prosecuted people illegally.
The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice disciplinary Prosecutor's Section issued a statement on 24 of June 2019, about one of the actions aimed at Laura Codruta Kövesi. Prosecutors have dismissed the disciplinary action initiated by the Judicial Inspection over the former DNA Chief. The Romanian High Court of Cassation considered her innocent.
Merits and distinctions
- 2016: 'Legion of Honour' the highest honor of the French Republic through the French ambassador in Bucharest, François Saint-Paul. The distinction was offered for great devotion and 'extraordinary courage' in the fight against corruption, and for her contributions to civil society.
- 2016: 'The Order of the Polar Star' (Swedish: Nordstjärneorden) offered by the king of Sweden for her fight against corruption in Romania.
- 2016: European of the Year, Reader's Digest.
- 2015: Prize from The Group of Social Dialogue
- 2014: 'Courageous Women of Romania' prize from the US Embassy.
- 2012: The decoration National Order of the 'Romanian Star' in the rank of Knight, awarded by former Romanian president, Traian Băsescu.
- 2011: Decorated 'Officer of National Order for Merit' offered by the President of France.
- 2011: 'Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding assistance and support on behalf of the law enforcement responsibilities of the United States Secret Service' awarded by the U.S: Secret Service Director.
- 2008: The “Cybercrime Fighter Award”, October 2008, awarded by the McAfee Company, U.S.A.
- 2007: 'Certificate of Appreciation for outstanding assistance and support on behalf of the law enforcement responsibilities of the United States Secret Service' awarded by the U.S: Secret Service Director.
- National Anticorruption Directorate
- Anti-Corruption General Directorate
- Romanian Intelligence Service
- Decision (EU) 2019/1798 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 appointing the European Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, effective 31 October 2019.
- Mădălina Bălăceanu (9 July 2018). "Marius Iacob asigură interimatul la conducerea DNA". Capital (in Romanian).
- Lucia Efrim (1 October 2012), "Codruţa Kövesi - singurul procuror general al României care-şi duce mandatul până la capăt", Mediafax, retrieved 6 November 2015
- "Bringing in the scalps: the woman leading Romania's war on corruption", Theguardian.com, retrieved 6 November 2015
- "Romanians trust DNA almost as much as the Church". Romania-Insider.com. Archived from the original on 2016-04-27. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "Ministrul Justitiei a facut anuntul oficial: Kövesi, in fruntea DNA pentru inca un mandat". Ziare.com. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "Laura Codruta Kövesi, reinvestita la sefia DNA cu acte - Ministrul Justitiei a trimis la CSM propunerea UPDATE". Ziare.com. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "RAPORTUL lui Tudorel Toader prin care a cerut revocarea lui Kovesi. Care sunt cele 20 de capete de acuzare aduse șefei DNA / VIDEO". stiripesurse.ro. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
- "EU Public Prosecutor's Office - EPPO: Council confirms Laura Codruţa Kövesi as first European chief prosecutor".
- "European court rules Romania's anti-graft chief was wrongly dismissed".
- "Romania anti-sleaze drive reaches elite - BBC News", Bbc.com, retrieved 6 November 2015
- "Bilantul DNA pe 2015 Kovesi: Coruptia in institutiile de executare a pedepselor, prioritate in 2016 / Raluca Pruna va propune reinvestirea Codrutei Kovesi / Livia Stanciu: Coruptii fac eforturi uriase pentru a disimula gravitatea faptelor, pentru a se erija in victime". HotNewsRo (in Romanian). Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "Venice Commission warns on justice reform effects in Romania". Romania Insider. 16 July 2018. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- "Laura Codruța Kovesi, citată la Secția de investigare a infracțiunilor din Justiție". EuropaFM. 2019-02-13.
- "Laura Codruța Kovesi, suspectă într-un al doilea dosar. Declarațiile făcute după cinci ore petrecute în biroul Secției speciale pentru magistrați". DIGI24.
- (in Romanian) Kövesi's CV at DNA