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What the newspapers say: June 9, 2006

de     HotNews.ro
Vineri, 9 iunie 2006, 0:00


The “second-hand” frigates sold by Great Britain to Romania seem to seize the best visible spots on the front pages of the Friday dailies, due to the fat perk allegedly gained by some Romanian politicians and by the intermediaries.

Sparing the OMW investors of some additional taxes also makes the subject of some articles, while violently ended internal football championship leaves a bitter taste to all fans.

EVZ focuses on a court’s decision to be ruled on Monday regarding the reopening of the case of the National Investment Fund (FNI) that generated a 25 bln lei loss to some 13,200 investors. The only arrested in the case is Ioana Maria Vlas, former president of SOV Invest, charged with embezzlement.

She is currently serving 20 years in prison for the National Investment Fund (FNI) crash.

The mastermind of the Fund was Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, never charged in the case. Vlas hopes the reopening of the case will put the spotlight on the “real responsible of the crash”, i.e. Vantu, and will answer to some questions that have remained unanswered but that might lead to Vantu.

Gandul writes about the British royal frigates sold on big money to the Romanian state, via some intermediaries that have gained a fat perk out of the trade.

The British authorities asked the Romanian prosecutors to investigate who were the contact persons of Georgiana and George Barry that had intermediated the sale of the two ships, with whom allegedly the Barrys splitted a seven million pounds bonus. The British authorities point out that the contact persons might have been some Romanian politicians.

Gardianul also elaborates, under the title British SHPAGA (Bribe), on the purchase by the Romanian state of the two British frigates “King Ferdinand” and “Queen Maria” in exchange of a 7 million pounds bribe, out of which 6 reached the pockets of a Romanian politician.

The British authorities have already arrested two persons – the consultant of BAE Systems Barry George and his wife, charged of illegally receiving a bonus of over 1 mln Euros. The trade was endorsed by the Romanian Finances Ministry and the Defense Ministry in 2003, and signed by the then prime minister Adrian Nastase.

The National Anti-Corruption Department is to interview all persons involved in the deal, including some ministers in the Nastase government among whom Nastase himself, the minister of Finances, Mihai Tanasescu, and Industry and Commerce minister, Dan Ioan Popescu, according to Adevarul.

Cotidianul focuses on the involvement of the British armament company BAE Systems into the trade, following the arrest of a BAE consultant and of his Romanian wife. The Romanian Defense Ministry bought 2 second-hand frigates from the British Navy for 116 million pounds, via the intermediate consultant BAE Systems.

BAE claims that 1% bonus was granted to Barry George, and some other 6% to an off-shore company. The British investigation led to a company in Romania belonging to Georgiana George, the BAE consultant’s wife, which recorded fabulous profits between 2002 and 2004.

The current Romanian government seems to be very indulgent with the OMW Austrian investors that have been cleared off a tax feared to be between 10-16% of the company’s turnover, Gandul claims. The tax initially envisaged for the oil companies is still to be discussed and negotiated, according to Finance minister Sebastian Vladescu. In the meantime, the OMW enjoys a threefold profit and modest royalties.

Football also abounds in the newspapers’ pages as the national championship concluded with the victory of UEFA semi-finalist Steaua Bucharest, which left a bitter taste for all the fans due to the violent incidents on the stadium in a city in Moldova region.

The other match for the title in which the UEFA quarter finalist Rapid Bucharest performed was the first in Romanian football history to be interrupted because of five eliminations on behalf of full of frustration Rapid’s team. The violence, the football players and club owners, and the lack of fair play are reflected in the Friday’s press that sanctions Romanian football in general.
























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