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The Singapore government has demanded that a Romanian diplomat return for an inquiry of his suspected involvement in two fatal hit-and-run car accidents in December, while rebutting his claim of having been set up in the case. “The matter is of the highest concern to the Singapore government, and it was most important that the Romanian embassy cooperate fully with the Singapore authorities on this matter,” said a Foreign Ministry statement released late Thursday.
The ministry had summoned Romania’s ambassador Aurelian Neagu, who is stationed in Tokyo, and handed over diplomatic notes.
In January, a Singapore state counsel confirmed that Silviu Ionescu, 49, then the highest-ranking Romanian diplomat posted in the city-state, was behind the wheel of an embassy car when it ran over Malaysian Tong Kok Wai, 30, and hit other pedestrians in two accidents on December 15.
Tong died 10 days later from severe brain damage, and the two other victims were injured.
Ionescu filed a police report that the embassy car had been stolen and left Singapore three days after the accident.
The Singapore Foreign Ministry said that Ionesco, in a recent media interview in Romania, had accused the city-state’s government of setting up the case “because he had been reporting on political activities in Singapore.”
The ministry firmly rejected the claims, saying: “If these media reports had accurately quoted … Ionescu, then he had made very serious allegations against the integrity of the Singapore government.”
In a diplomatic note, said the ministry, it had asked the Romanian embassy’s assistance in requesting Ionescu to return to Singapore to attend a “fact-finding inquiry” set for March 3-10.
As Ionescu was still maintaining that he was not the driver at the time of the two accidents, “it was all the more reason why he should come back to Singapore to give his version,” the ministry said.
“The next step will depend on the Romanian government’s response to our requests and the outcome of the coroner’s inquiry,” the statement said.