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What the newspapers say: March 26, 2009

de Radu Rizea     HotNews.ro
Joi, 26 martie 2009, 9:07 English | Press Review

The arrest of a multi-millionaire and of a secret service chief makes most of the headlines on Thursday. Businessman Puiu Popoviciu and chief commissary Cornel Serban were taken into custody on Wednesday, in a deal regarding real estate transactions in Northern Bucharest.

For the first time in the recent history of Romania, the head of the Interior Ministry's  intelligence service was arrested, accused of attempting to protect a businessman who was under investigation. The businessman, Puiu Popoviciu, is one of the richest Romanians, but also one of the most discreet. In the file built against him, the main stake is a 224 hectares piece of land in Northern Bucharest, acquired from the Agriculture Faculty, Evenimentul Zilei reads. The head of the secret service is also accused of involving in an illegal trade of private information, namely the phone listings of a politician.

Popoviciu's deal  is also connected to the names of several major politicians, Gandul adds: President Traian Basescu (who signed the protect for water and sewage works for Popoviciu's residential project), former Bucharest Mayor, currently Economy Minister Adriean Videanu (also involved in developing the infrastructure for the terrain) and former Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who built a new headquarters building on Popoviciu's terrain for his Citroen business.

Besides real estate businesses, Popoviciu owns several major franchises, like the KFC, Pizza Hut and the Howard Johnson hotel.

Back to the usual news: Romania will avoid the worst aspects of the crisis due to the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, said Tony Lybek, the future IMF official in Romania. "Romania's economy faces several challenges on a short term, but has a huge potential on a medium term", said Lybek, according to Gandul.

The Romanian Government will send on Thursday the official letter towards the IMF, in order to obtain the loan. The total amount Romania will borrow is 19.95 billion Euros, out of which the IMF offers 12.95 billions. The rest of the loan is supported by the World Bank, the European Union and the European Reconstruction and Development Bank, Cotidianul reads.


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