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Romania's outgoing PM appears at court for corruption trial: tax evasion, money laundering


BUCHAREST, Romania — Romania's outgoing prime minister has appeared at the high court where he's on trial for tax evasion, money-laundering, conflict of interest and making false statements.

Victor Ponta arrived at the High Court for Cassation and Justice Friday, declining comment saying he was now "a private citizen."

Ponta and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday after mass protests following a nightclub fire that killed more than 30. Protesters have staged mass rallies demanding better governance.

The charges Ponta faces refer to a period when he was working as a lawyer. He denies wrongdoing.

Prosecutors say Ponta, who is still a lawmaker, forged expense claims worth at least 181,000 lei ($45,000) from the law firm of political ally. Prosecutors say he pretended he worked as a lawyer to justify getting money from the firm.

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