Romanian tourism minister faces parliament inquiry


Romania’s tourism minister answered questions before a parliamentary committee Tuesday and denied some allegations that she misspent government funds.

Elena Udrea’s participation in the hearing was a reversal from her previous refusal to cooperate. Last week she filed a legal complaint against the committee on the grounds that it was biased against her. Audio tapes were released that appeared to show committee members criticizing Udrea and discussed ways to find her guilty of corruption.

On Tuesday, Udrea said she wanted to answer lawmakers’ questions to show that the ministry she runs had nothing to hide.

Udrea is accused of misspending Tourism Ministry money, including overspending on television advertisements.

Amalia Nastase, the wife of former Romanian tennis star Ilie Nastase, also answered questions Tuesday about the organization and funding of a June exhibition tennis match in Paris to promote Romanian tourism.

Udrea is seen as Romania’s second most powerful politician due to her close ties with President Traian Basescu, who is expected to run for re-election in November. His rivals have criticized Udrea in what some have said is an attempt to weaken him.

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