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September 19, 2020

Romanian Intelligence Service: Romanian prepaid cards used in conflict areas in Syria, Iraq

The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) cannot provide information at this time regarding the fact that the terrorists who have committed attacks in Europe have used Romanian prepaid cards, but states that it has information that such cards from the Romanian mobile telephony operators are used in conflict areas, including Syria and Iraq.

In a response to a request by Agerpres, the SRI said on Monday that the identity of the people who are using these cards could not be determined.

“According to information we have, including from cooperation with other intelligence structures and foreign partners, non-nominal cards of Romanian mobile telephony operators are used in conflict areas, including Syria and Iraq. As the identity of the people who use them could not be established , there is the possibility for these cards to be used by Romanian citizens residing in Syria (or other conflict areas) but also by people having connections with terrorist entities,” reads the SRI response.


Valeriu Zgonea: Bill on prepaid phone cards is key for Romania’s security system


Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker Valeriu Zgonea considers that the adoption of a bill on the identification of prepaid phone card users is “necessary for Romania’s security system.”

He added that more than ever, this law is necessary today, as a “mandatory” requirement.

“Today, more than ever, we must stay away from creating new vulnerabilities in the European family and we must have those pieces of legislation that put the necessary tools in the hands of the security structures. Security is extremely important for the stability of the area, but also for the Romanians’ prosperity. Otherwise, you will no longer have economic growth, no one comes to invest in the country any more if you have issues. This bill is extremely important and the package also includes other bills we need to discuss in the coming months. I hope that, although this is an election year, the right-wing parties at rule will be open, for us to be able to promote this bill,” Zgonea emphasized.


Shocking statement from Premier Ciolos: “Prepaid phone cards from Romania have been used to prepare attacks in other places in the European Union”


Premier Dacian Ciolos stated that the Government will file for public consultation a new draft concerning the registration of the identity of prepaid phone cards, against the backdrop in which prepaid phone card have been used in other countries to prepare terrorist attacks.

“I understand that the prepaid cards from Romania have been used to prepare attacks in other places in the European Union, precisely because of this flexibility in Romania,” the prime minister said in an interview broadcasted on Sunday by the private station Pro TV. “The Justice Ministry and Interior Ministry will come up with a note in the Government and the stipulations will be file for open consultation in the upcoming period,” Ciolos pointed out.

He stated that Romania is one of the few European Union countries in which the buyers of these prepaid cards do not have to present an ID when purchasing them.

“The [intelligence] services are asking for instruments that would allow them to carefully monitor the situation. I am very careful, and the services know this, to citizens’ rights, but I believe we have to see where to put the cursor in order for the services to do their job correctly, without making excesses or exaggerations in what concerns citizens’ rights,” the Prime Minister added.

Premier Dacian Ciolos stated that in Romania there is a potential risk in what concerns terrorist attacks, but pointed out that things are kept under control by authorities and the intelligence services.

“We do not have to hide. The risk exists. We are in the European Union. We are actively taking part in this fight against terrorism, so there is a potential risk, however, as things stand now, they are kept under control, in the sense that the authorities are doing their job. From the talks I’ve had this week with the relevant authorities, government authorities and intelligence services, I understand that things are kept under control, but, of course, vigilance is high,” Dacian Ciolos stated, talking about the risk of terrorist attack after the attacks in Brussels.

Likewise, the Head of Government pointed out that the European Union is “at a crossroads,” because “the risk of dissolution is high in the EU and we could pay a very high price.”

Also in the context of the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Ciolos reminded Romania’s consistent stance against mandatory quotas of migrants. “I think even those who were very open are now more circumspect about migration – Germany or the Nordic countries. (…) It was understood – I think perhaps at the last minute – that we cannot talk about solidarity without a control of illegal migration,” he said.

According to him, Romania has one of the most modern border protection systems, following recent investments.

After this statement, the Association for the Implementation of Democracy (AID) is asking Premier Dacian Ciolos for consultation over the prepaid phone cards situation and a timetable for the resumption of consultations on this topic, reminding him at the same time that “citizen safety laws have been gathering dust in the drawers of the Communications Ministry for months now.”

AID considers that “only huge economic interests, combined with political-crime interests, have led to the postponement, so far, of adoption of laws in the cybersecurity domain,” and reminds that, on its notification, the National Council for Combating Discrimination has noted the discrimination before the law between citizens that own mobile phone subscriptions and those who own prepaid phone cards.



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