The Brasov Court of Appeal ruled on Saturday the placement of Prince Paul under house arrest in the case regarding the illegal return of the Baneasa Farm.
Prince Paul is being charged by anticorruption prosecutors of purchasing/peddling influence, participating in an organized crime ring, bribery, and being complicit to abuse of office with extremely serious consequences in the case of the illegal return of the Baneasa Farm. He was referred on Saturday to the Brasov Court of Appeal with the proposal to have him placed under 30-day pre-trial arrest, but the magistrates rejected the proposal.
The decision is not final, as the prosecutors can challenge it.
Prosecutors requested Price Paul’s placement under pre-trial arrest for essential contribution to corruption deeds
Prince Paul had an essential contribution to the corruption deeds (purchase/peddling of influence, participation in an organized crime ring, bribery, abuse of office with extremely serious consequences) in the case of the illegal return of the Baneasa Farm, as initiator of the entire criminal activity, argue the anticorruption prosecutors in the report whereby they request that the defendant be placed under pre-trial arrest.
The prosecutors argue that Paul was adamant on getting into the possession of property he didn’t have the legal qualifications to claim, and that the pre-trial arrest is necessary because of the defendant’s perseverance in breaking the law as he sought considerable financial benefits, thus damaging the state by over 135 million euro.
The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) also says that “the involvement of a high number of persons, the corruption of public institutions’ staff by offering money and the duration of the criminal activity also justify the toughest preventive measure.”
The DNA ordered on Friday the arrest of Prince Paul, and the measure of court restriction against Gheorghe Sin, president of the Agricultural Sciences Academy, in the case regarding the illegal return of the Baneasa Farm.
Prince Paul is charged with influence buying, money laundering and complicity to abuse of office where the public servant obtained for himself or others undue gains with grave consequences; therefore, the DNA wants him placed under 30-day pre-trial arrest.
Gheorghe Sin, who at at the time of the offences was Secretary general with the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and is currently president of the same institution, is accused of complicity to abuse of office where the public servant obtained for himself or others undue gains with grave consequences.
The DNA said that as early as 2006, Prince Paul promised the politically well-connected businessman Remus Truica and his cronies in the crime ring (including Robert Rosu, Marius Marcovici, Lucian Mateescu, Dan Andronic) a considerable chunk ranging between 50 and 80 percent of the value of the property claimed in Romania, and that he subsequently handed them over the property as he got hold of it, in exchange for interventions with public servants responsible for the restoration/ retrocession of property in Bucharest and other counties, and for intervention with judges for illegally obtaining property.
DNA said the defendants covered their illegal dealings by a leasing contract signed on November 1, 2006 by Prince Paul and SC Reciplia SRL, represented by Truica, on the property subject to administrative or judicial return procedures.
Under the contract masterminded by Robert Rosu, Paul Philippe of Romania, acting as transferor, transfers against payment all his present and future rights over property listed in the contract (the Baneasa Farm included, with a land plot of 28.63 hectares). Reciplia SRL commits to pay under certain terms an amount and provide support and assistance with the property subject to administrative or judicial return procedures. Subsequently to signing the document, Paul Philippe of Romania signed other documents/contracts aimed at covering the illegal source of the returned property, sale pre-contracts and agreements (an agreement signed on 13.04.2011 and the addendum thereto), the prosecutors said.
DNA argues that in 2008, following a notification by Prince Paul over the Baneasa Farm – former Royal House property – sent for settlement to the Bucharest Research and Development Plant Protection Institute, Prince Paul, Rosu and Truica helped the director of the Institute persuade the members of the Institute’s Board to approve the request, under violation of the law.
Although he was aware the documents are incomplete and the law requirements for the return of the property are not met, Prince Paul participated in talks within the Institute’s Board meeting and exercised pressure on the members of the Board to the effect that under Decision No. 30 of September 26, 2008, the Board ordered the return, under violation of Art. 8 of Law No. 10/2001, of the Baneasa Farm; the minutes for the handover of the plot were signed on the same day although the plot had not been formally identified.
The prosecutors conclude that the property return decision is abusive, as the claim was not accompanied by justification documents proving Prince Paul’s capacity of rightful heir or that this is a case where Law No. 10/2001 applies to the property. The conclusion is that the damage to the state budget is of approximately 136 million euro (the equivalent of almost 500.4 million lei) in assets unduly obtained by Paul Philippe of Romania, Remus Truica and their cronies.