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Romanian leader intervenes over Tarom vote-rig row

Romania's outgoing prime minister has intervened to establish whether flag-carrier Tarom's management has complied with legal and operational requirements after serious allegations emerged that the carrier was pressured to engage in political influence.

Prime minster Viorica Dancila has ordered a state control body to examine Tarom's activities in order to verify that it has met corporate governance rules as well as operational criteria regarding aircraft in its fleet.

"I urgently had to carry out this [measure] to clarify the serious issues reported in the media," says Dancila.

"It is imperative to establish the truth and to ensure that legal provisions have been respected."

She warns that any individuals found to have violated the law will be punished.

The decision follows an extraordinary claim, reported in various Romanian media, that Tarom chief Madalina Mezei was asked to ground domestic services, under the pretence of technical problems, to prevent members of parliament from reaching Bucharest and voting on a no-confidence motion which ultimately ousted the government.

Mezei has reportedly claimed that she was subsequently fired for refusing. In response, transport minister Razvan Cuc has rejected her accusation, reportedly via social media, describing it as untrue, and retorting that Mezei was dismissed for other reasons including hold-ups to Tarom's modernisation.

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