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January 18, 2022

President Iohannis forwards to Justice Minister a prosecution request on four former ministers

President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday sent to the Justice Minister the prosecution request to probe four former ministers in the Rompetrol II criminal case.

According to a press release by the Presidential Administration, the head of state has sent the Justice Minister the request of criminal prosecution of Nicolae Mihai Tanasescu, Public Finances Minister in 2000 – 2004; Ioan Dan Popescu, Economy and Commerce Minister in 2003 – 2004; Teodor Gheorghe Sebastian Vladescu, Public Finances Minister in 2005 – 2007 and in 2009 – 2010; and Gheorghe Pogea, Public Finances Minister in 2008 – 2009.

At the same time, the Prosecutor’s Office with the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ, Supreme Court – author’s note) was informed on these requests.

According to a press release by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), the former dignitaries are charged with constitution of an organized criminal group, abuse of office and accessory to embezzlement.

The DIICOT prosecutors say that in September – October 2003, then Minister of Public Finances, Mihai Tanasescu, and then Minister of Economy and Commerce, Dan Ioan Popescu “have exercised in bad faith their job attributions, after an agreement with Dan Costache Patriciu, George Philip Stephenson and Alexandru Nicolcioiu, with a view to initiate and promote the government’s emergency ordinance (OUG) 118/2003 through which the outstanding debts of the SC Rompetrol Rafinare SA, at 30 September 2003, worth approximately 603,000,000 dollars were converted into bonds subscribed by the Public Finances Ministry.”

Following the two ministers’ activity, on 24 October 2003, the OUG 118/2003 was adopted in the government sitting with non-observance of the legal dispositions of government decision (HG) 555/2001 and Law 24/2000, “non-observing none of the mandatory stages as foreseen in the two normative acts.”

In this respect, the prosecutors say that the background note of OUG 118/2003 was presented to be Okayed to the Justice Ministry on 27 October 2003, its contents being different from the background note that was at the basis of the normative act.

As regards Dan Ioan Popescu, the DIICOT says that he continued to support the criminal group initiated by (the late) Dinu Patriciu even after he was not a minister anymore, “by witnessing in an arbitral cause of the ARB/06/03, pending in front of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in favour of Rompetrol Group, a statement in which he made untrue affirmations.”

Likewise, the DIICOT prosecutors say that Sebastian Vladescu, a Public Finances Minister in 22 August 2005 – 5 April 2007, 23 December 2009 – 3 October 2010, as well as Gheorghe Pogea, also a minister of Public Finances in 22 December 2008 – 23 December 2009, “In bad faith, did not observe the dispositions of OUG 118/2003, modified through Law 89/2005, according to which, ‘within 6 months from issuance, through government decision, the bonds will be recorded at the Evidence Office of Securities for being traded on the regulated markets, in the conditions of the regulation approved in this respect by the National Securities Commission and have blocked the adoption of the HG which was to allow the selling of the bonds on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BVB), and the Romanian state to recover its debts.

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