Premier Victor Ponta organised a visit for the press correspondents at the Victoria Palace to Villa Dante owned by the National Administration of State Protocol Patrimony (RA-APPS), a property that has been renovated with over EUR 1 M public money to serve as Traian Basescu’s home after the completion of his presidential term. ‘In 2010-2011, while wages and pensions were being cut, upon Traian Basescu’s request, this property belonging to RA-APPS suffered renovation work worth over EUR 1 M – tax-payers’ money – to serve as Basesu’s future home. The famous ‘Live well!’slogan only applies here’, Ponta said. The PM explained that he wanted to allow the media to film and photograph the property as an image is worth a lot more than words. The head of the Executive also said that, although Villa Dante belonged to the Government, when he became prime minister he was told that the property had a special regime and that, before Crin Antonescu as interim President spoke to the Protection and Security Service (SPP), he had not access there. ‘I, as prime minister, will not sign off this property to Traian Basescu. I will request an inspection and if the irregularities re proved, Basescu will have to pay the money back. I hope Basescu makes public apologies to all those people who suffered in 2010 and 2011’, Ponta told the press. Villa Dante has a built area of 1,387 sq m and stands on a 5,128 sq m property. It is equipped with a swimming pool and fitness facilities and borders the Herastrau Lake. According to Victor Ponta, the suspended president bought from public funds also the furniture (including the mattresses) worth some 100,000 Euros. According to Romania TV, Basescu refused initially to comment the information and images published and even cancelled a scheduled interview on the public radio station last night. Later on, his spokesperson Bogdan Oprea said in a communiqué that Basescu never asked RA-APPS to prepare the villa for himself, and never asked for refurbishment works. Basescu urged Ponta to present evidence, adding that since 2011 the villa has been under the SPP (Protection and Guard Service) management.