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Bucharest
October 1, 2020
POLITICS

Nelu Iordache, on remand for 29 days

The businessman is accused of misappropriating European funds.

Businessman Nelu Iordache, who was detained Saturday by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) under the accusations of misappropriating RON 25 M from the money paid for building the Nadlac-Arad motorway, embezzling other funds, forging documents and money laundering was remanded for 29 days, Sunday, by the Bucharest Tribunal. Iordache is accused that he used his company – Romstrade – to “divert” European funds worth RON 25 M, which should have been used for the construction of the first segment of the Nadlac – Arad motorway.According to prosecutors, the businessman used RON 9.8 M to pay the debts of the airline he controls (Blue Air), and RON 9.86 M to buy several plots of land throughout the country. Meanwhile, the employees of the construction company controlled by Nelu Iordache, Romstrade, have not received their salaries since August.Iordache was detained Saturday evening for 24 hours, after being questioned by DNA prosecutors. DNA announced Saturday evening that, after it expanded the probe, Iordache also came under criminal investigation for embezzlement and forgery in writs under private signature, apart from the three crimes he had already been charged with. Friday, the DNA had announced that it started a criminal probe against Nelu Iordache for misappropriation of European funds, without observing legal provisions, using with ill intention the credit of the company, and money laundering. In the case, prosecutors also probe other suspects. Nelu Iordache was first questioned Thursday night, for 6 hours, then he was allowed to leave.Thursday, prosecutors searched for over 12 hours the headquarters of the Romstrade company controlled by the businessman, and took documents, computers and laptops.The Romanian Company of Motorways and National Roads (CNADNR) recently terminated the contract for the construction of the first segment of the Nadlac-Arad motorway, signed with an association that includes Romstrade, the main reason being the failure to observe deadlines.Romstrade posted for 2011 a profit of EUR 2.6 M, half the sum reported in 2010, according to Forbes Romania. Two years ago, the company had a turnover of EUR 134 M.In 2009, Romstrade was the biggest local construction company, with a profit above EUR 31 M and a turnover of EUR 268 M.In 2011, Romstrade had 1,623 employees, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance.Nelu Iordache was present in the 2011 edition of the Forbes Top 500 Billionaires, on the 28th place, with EUR 150 M.His lawyer said Sunday, at the Bucharest Tribunal, that Iordache cannot be accused of misappropriating European funds, because the money he took for the project that makes the object of the probe belonged to the national budget of the state, not from the EU budget. According to his legal team, Iordache cannot be charged with misappropriating EU funds.While leaving the Bucharest Tribunal, a lawyer explained that the sums were taken in June 2011 and the refund request was sent to the European Commission as late as end-October 2011.

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