POLITICS

DNA to investigates the Lottery’s contracts with Greek company Intralot

The National Anticorruption Department (DNA) has started an investigation on the contracts signed by the National Company „Romanian Lottery” (CNLR) and the Greek group Intralot. There was no legal pursuit against one person, it was an investigation based on suspicions of corruption-generated misdemeanours.
For over twenty years, the company Intralot owns monopoly upon the entire electronic system of the Lottery. The first contract was sealed in 1993, without an auction, by former company manager Nicolae Cristea. As the initial contract stipulated no fixed price for the equipment, opting instead for paying a percentage of monthly income, all controls made during this time reached the same conclusion: the state had paid several times for the same equipment.
As Head of the Prime Minister’d Control Corps during the Nastase Government, Victor Ponta attended controls at the Lottery and also drew the same conclusion.
Nonetheless, in 2003, the contract was prolonged for another period of ten years. After Nicolae Cristea’s dismissal as manager of the Lottery, all his successors tried to cancel this contract, but failed to do so.
“Unfortunately, during my time as Finance Minister, I was unable to cancel this contract. I demanded my jurists to analyse it, they did. I understood that other Finance Ministers analysed the possibility of cancellation as well, but failed similarly, because it was impeccably written, as my jurists put it. There was no possibility of stopping it”, former Finance Minister Gheorghe Ialomitianu declared.
“You could not cancel those contracts, because the prejudice and the penalties the Romanian Lottery was forced to pay to the company the contracts were signed with were so huge, that it would have brought the Lottery to bankruptcy”, former Lottery manager Liliana Minca declared.
The second contract with Intralot expired in November 2013. The present manager of the company, Adrian Misu Manolache, instead of organizing a public auction, preferred for the beginning to extend the contract with this company, by issuing several additional acts. For the mere maintenance of the equipment that already belongs to the Lottery, Intralot earned, during the last six months, 7.5 per cent of the Lottery income.
Although PM Victor Ponta declared in 2013 that a new contract with the Greek company Intralot is definitely out of the question, at the beginning of this year, the Premier declared that he knew nothing about the new contract.
“For ten years, the Romanian Lottery has a contract that brings the Romanian state a profit of approximately EUR 10 million. Nonetheless, the procedures we started – because that contract will expire soon, in two or three months, and it is obvious that we do not want to renew it –the procedures we started require that those who organize lottery games must bring at least EUR 75 million to the state budget. So, there’s a difference from 10 to 75 million. I think the Greek company will no longer be with us. (…) No company in Romania is that big. There are international corporations – the first three or four players on a global level – but my wish, which is also the task assigned by the members of the Council of Administration is that we will not be interested in who would win the auction, but in the fundamental fact that the winner would be able to raise our earnings from 10 to 75 million”, PM Victor Ponta declared in January 2013, during a television appearance.
In March 2013, during the selection procedures for the new manager, Finance Minister Adrian Chitoiu decided to dismiss Dan Ghita and to appoint Adrian Misu Manolache as head of the Lottery.
After Adrian Misu Manolache was appointed manager of the Lottery, the 20-year-old contract with the Greek company Intralot was automatically extended. The Ministry of Finances apologizes and claims it had no other possibilities. “The National Company “Romanian Lottery” (CNLR SA) extended by an additional act, for a limited period of time, the contract with the group of companies Intralot. During this period, CNLR SA will perform a market study in order to sign a new contract that would grant the most favourable conditions for the company”, Ministry spokespeople explained.
According to the new contract, the Romanian state will keep paying 7.5 per cent of the Lottery’s monthly earnings to the group Intralor, for the maintenance of the computerized system of the Lottery and for supplying required technical assistance.
Therefore, a contract that brought the Romanian state a prejudice of several hundred million dollars and could not be cancelled for ten years was willingly extended by the present manager of the Romanian Lottery, with the approval of the Ministry of Public Finances.
The present Public Finances manager Ioana-Maria Petrescu has signed in June a minister order enforcing state representatives in the General Assembly of Associates of the National Company “Romanian Lottery” to start negotiations for signing a contract of association for participation, in order to operate a new lottery system.
The result of the negotiations will be presented to the General Assembly of Associates for approval. The Public Finances Minister issued this order under the circumstances that the last additional act to the contract with the company Intralot SA was expiring on June 30, 2014. The new winner of the auction was, once again, Intralot. The company was selected by the lawyers’ office Tuca, Zbarcea and Associates.
“The most favourable solution for CNLR is represented by signing a contract of association for participation with the winning auctioneer. From this point of view, considering the economical premises, calculations show that the best offer, economically speaking, belongs to Intralot”, a report issued

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