Piraeus Bank net profit up 107% in 2005 Greek financial group Piraeus Bank registered a 107% growth of its net profit in 2005, from 127.3 million euro in 2004 to 263.8 million, a bank press release says. According to BP data, its banking network rose by 9.6% in Greece and by 193.3% in other countries, including Romania.
Media organizations renew call against harassment of journalists Four independent media organizations expressed their deep concern today towards abuses committed by prosecutors against Romanian journalists in a classified information leak scandal.
House commission rejects search request for ex- PM's house The Juridical Commission of the House of Deputies rejected Wednesday the prosecutors' request to search houses owned by ex-PM Adrian Nastase, with 13 votes against and 11 in favor. The former PM, currently speaker of the House of Deputies, said this was a political action. The Justice minister denied the allegations explaining that the searches are needed for the progress of the "Zambaccian" graft case.
Two new insurance companies on Bulgarian market United Bulgarian Bank (UBB), member of the Greek NBG Group, will close a partnership deal with the insurance companies Ethniki Insurance Greece and AIG in order to launch two new insurance companies in Bulgaria, according to the Dvenik newspaper.
Unicredit and Bank Austria Creditanstalt to merge Bulgarian branches UniCredit and Bank Austria Creditanstalt, a member of UniCredit Group, are planning an integration of their Bulgarian branches by 2007, reports.
EBRD advises Romania to attract foreign investments The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recommends Romanian authorities to continue fighting against corruption and implement coherent economic policies in order to attract foreign investments.
What the media say: February 23, 2006 Romanian company Rompetrol prepares to confront the Romanian state over the "prejudice" the company has suffered in the current organized crime inquiry against its head Dinu Patriciu. The confrontation is due at the World Bank International Court of Arbitration, but the Romanian Finance Ministry looks unprepared for it, according to reports. Newspapers also tackle the latest disputes in Parliament over the graft case against former PM Adrian Nastase. Who might as well be dragged into the Rompetrol scandal. And troubled waters rise on the governing alliance following new allegation of links with Patriciu.
President Basescu remains
most trusted politician, poll says
Romanian President Traian Basescu makes a good impression on 63% of Romanians, while the political DA alliance of Liberals and Democrats that he led in the 2004 elections is trusted by only 42% of the population, according to a latest poll by the CURS research center. Some 64% of Romanians believe Basescu when when he says politicians are influenced by dubious pressure groups.
Romanians abroad sent back 4.3 billion euro in 2005 The amount of money Romanian citizens abroad sent back in the country in 2005 exceeded 4 billion euro, according to a statistical report the Romanian National Bank (BNR) presented on Thursday.
Romanian magistrates debate yoga guru case The High Council of Magistrates started talks today over a report on how an inquiry on criminal charges against a Romanian yoga guru has allowed Sweden to grant him shelter against extradition requests from Bucharest. De talks have been repeatedly postponed for the lack of sufficient attendance for a decision to be made in this regard.
Privatization authority puts five companies on sale The Romanian Authority for the Valorization of State Assets (AVAS) announced Thursday it would open privatization procedures for five big state-owned companies, including Antibiotice Iasi and Rulmentul Brasov.
Romanian cinematography tops 200 mln euros The turnover of Romanian movie industry topped 200 mln euros in 2005, eleven folded more compared to 2000, according to the National Cinematography Centre (CNC) report.
FT: Europe warns Romania and Bulgaria to speed up reforms European diplomats, quoted by the Financial Times, warned Bulgaria and Romania to accelerate reforms in order to be admitted into the European Union (EU) on January 1 2007. Yet they expressed confidence that the EU 25 governments will agree with the entry of the two countries as scheduled, despite problems with their judicial systems, border security and food safety.
Ex-minister testifies in Rompetrol case Former Transport minister Miron Mitrea was called Thursday to testify in the Rompetrol case about an ordinance dating from 2003, while he was in office, that turned some debts held by a Rompetrol subsidiary into shares. Mitrea said he was not very familiar with the ordinance because he had not signed it.
Moderate number of Romanian emigrants after accession to EU The accession to the EU will not lead to a much greater number of Romanians working abroad as the bulk of the emigrants targeting the European jobs after the visa regime was lifted in 2002, and the salaries would grow significantly after 2007, said the chief economist of the Romanian National Bank (BNR) Valentin Lazea at "Private transfers and their impact on Romanian economy" conference.
Health reform challenged at Constitutional Court Some 37 senators challenged the Health package reform to the Constitutional Court (CC) on Thursday, following the confidence vote granted by the Parliament to the Government in a motion filed by the opposition parties earlier this week.
Two Romanian teams go into next round
of UEFA cup
Second-half goals from Daniel Niculae and Mugurel Buga for Rapid Bucharest dashed Hertha Berlin's last hope to continue the competition in the UEFA cup. The Romanian club qualified with a 3-0 aggregate victory to figure among the UEFA top 16. Steaua Bucharest lost to Heerenveen 0-1, but qualified to the next round of the competition due to the aggregate victory 3-2.
What the newspapers say: February 24, 2006 Romanian ex-PM Adrian Nastase changes tactics in his war with anti-graft prosecutors, newspapers believe after the current House speaker implicitly admitted yesterday he put pressure on prosecutors when he was in office. In another high-profile scandal, a newspaper publishes the full 12 charges against businessman Dinu Patriciu.
House speaker’s house searched again Two prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA) searched the building where House speaker Adrian Nastase lives once again on Friday. It’s the fourth time this week when prosecutors search the house on Zambaccian St. in Bucharest, a property that stands at the core of a high profile graft case against ex-PM Nastase.
Court rejects Rompetrol head arrest The Bucharest Tribunal rejected Friday evening the prosecutors' request to issue an arrest warrant on the name of Rompetrol head Dinu Patriciu, investigated for alleged embezzlement and stock exchange abuses. After more than six hours of fiery debates, the Court ruled in Patriciu's favour accepting one of the five exceptions procedure related invoked by the Defense lawyers. Transactions with shares of Rompetrol Rafinare, part of the Rompetrol group, were blocked early in the day pending the court decision.


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