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June 21, 2021

BNR Governor, one century after Romanian treasure’s transfer to Moscow: Proven by documents signed by both sides

Governor of the National Bank of Romania (BNR) Mugur Isarescu said on Wednesday afternoon in Iasi that the transfer, one century ago, of Romania’s treasure to Russia was operated based on the mutual trust between the two states, and is certified by authentic documents that have been carefully preserved by all the governors of the central bank of Romania.

“The handing over of our gold is certified by authentic documents signed by both sides, the Romanian and the Russian government, but not even after a century has it been returned,” Isarescu said.

He explained that the original documents underlying the departure to Moscow of the gold have been carefully preserved by all Romanian central bank governors.

“The Russian guarantees and the handover of the BNR treasure to the Russian factors in charge are stated in indisputable documents drawn up in Iasi, upon handover, and in Moscow, upon acceptance, bearing the signatures and seals of the Russian and Romanian officials, and of the Moscow branch of the Russian Bank of the State and of the representatives of our national bank. These documents have been carefully preserved by all BNR representatives,” said the central bank governor.

He added that although valuables have been returned to Romania in 1935 and 1956 “none included not even one gram of Romania’s gold treasure.”

Mugur Isarescu argues that the documents in the BNR archives show that in February 1916 1,738 crates of gold coins and bullions were transferred to Moscow, as were Queen Maria’s jewelry boxes; another 188 crates followed in June 1917.

The head of the central bank participated on Wednesday in the events commemorating a century since Iasi became a war capital, with celebrations also including a festive sitting of the Romanian Academy.


Duplicates of documents proving Romanian treasure’s transfer to Moscow on display at Iasi Palace of Culture


A duplicate of the file containing the original documents that certify the transfer to Moscow, in 1916 and 1917, of Romania’s treasure was put on display on Thursday at the Palace of Culture in Iasi.

The documents are among the items on display at the exhibition titled ‘The National Bank of Romania During the Great War’, organized by the central bank on the occasion of the commemoration of 100 years since the transformation of Iasi in a war capital.

“Speaking of what sometimes captivates us to obsession, we also brought a copy of the file concerning the treasure we sent to Moscow for safekeeping, not for being seized. The file contains the documents certifying the handover of the gold, and the guarantees offered by the Russian side for transport, storage and return. In connection to this subject I can tell you that I personally took it with trembling hands from my predecessor in office,” BNR governor Mugur Isarescu said at the opening of the exhibition.

The exhibition organized by BNR also showcases, among others, Romanian and foreign gold coins that had been part of the treasure transferred in December 1916 to Moscow, but also coins and banknotes issued by the central bank and which were in circulation in Romania during WWI.

The centennial commemoration that is underway in Iasi these days is organized by the Government of Romania, BNR and the Iasi City Hall.

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