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Ex-Romanian prime minister loses doctorate over plagiarism

Victor Ponta

BUCHAREST: Former Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta had his law doctorate withdrawn Monday after being accused of plagiarising his thesis, the first such case in the country, the education ministry announced.

“We are withdrawing the title of doctor accorded by Bucharest University to Mr Ponta,” the statement signed by Education Minister Mircea Dumitru said.

A ministry commission last month had confirmed the verdict of “plagiarism” which was determined by three groups of different experts in 2012.

A third of Ponta’s 2003 thesis on the workings of the International Criminal Court was a “copy-and-paste” job, the experts said.

Ponta has previously rejected the accusations calling them “political attacks”.

When he came to power in 2012, Ponta dismissed one of the commissions charged with verifying the plagiarism claims and changed the composition of another one to include people favourable to his view.

But Ponta has had more troubles than his doctoral thesis. He has been a target of several corruption inquiries and left office last November after a devastating nightclub fire in Bucharest killed 64 people.

He is currently on trial over allegations of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

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