Romanian minister resigns after claiming to have falsified his diplomas | Romania

Romania’s innovation and digitalization minister has resigned after an investigation by journalists who said they found major irregularities on his CV and evidence he had plagiarized from an academic paper.

Florin Roman, who had served in Romania’s new coalition government for less than a month, resigned after Romanian newspaper Libertatea published a third article questioning his credentials.

He said he did not want the suspicions surrounding him to affect Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.

“I resigned today as minister,” Roman wrote online after a government meeting. “When white becomes black, when everything is misinterpreted, when we make material mistakes, but when we reach lynching on the first day of office, it’s too much.”

Libertatea reporters accused Roman of plagiarizing part of his master’s thesis and said they were unable to locate a 2006 academic paper that the politician mentioned on his CV. The newspaper also reported that Roman made misleading or false statements about the university he was attending.

Roman strongly denied the paper’s findings, calling them a “campaign to vilify me”.

Several Romanian politicians, including former prime ministers, have been accused of plagiarism in recent years.

Dacian Ciolos, who served as prime minister in a caretaker cabinet between 2015 and 2017, described Roman’s resignation as a “necessary act”.

“Florin Roman is not a victim. (He) is a representative of the Romanian political class who destroyed the best Romania had,” Ciolos said, adding that the fabricated qualifications prevent “competent and honest people from politics.”

Emilia Sercan, a journalist who has investigated dozens of high-profile plagiarism cases in Romania, described falsified academic work as the “Achilles heel” of politicians.

“Bad news for politicians: if your fortunes are safe, your ‘academic’ works are on the shelves, in the library,” Sercan wrote online Wednesday.

Romania, an EU country of around 19 million people, ranked 69th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Helen D. Jessen