What the newspapers say: May 24, 2011
All newspapers on Tuesday read about the scandal at the Port of Constanta, involving several politicians and businessmen in a fiscal evasion scheme. Gandul reads that 47 million tons of merchandise passes through the Port of Constanta, representing Romania’s biggest commercial exchange. Despite monthly controls the Port is the biggest evasion net in the country.
On Monday, prosecutors raided 25 houses in Constanta and Bucharest in the biggest operation against fiscal evasion in this country. Among those targeted are Democratic Liberal Senator Mircea Banias, former director of the Constanta Ports Administration and Interior Ministry general secretary Laurentiu Mironescu, who has been sacked on Monday.
Over half of the total quantity of cereals passing through the country reaches the Port of Constanta and the evasion on the market rises to 60%, experts claim. Most commonly, the merchandise arrives undervalued in the Port of Constanta and owners pay taxes account to that value.
The black economy represents about 30% of GDP which means that the state does not cash in 40 billion euro.
In the same vein, Evenimentul Zilei reads that Banias and Mironescu convinced customs chiefs in Constanta, Agigea, Slobozia and Bucharest to allow containers with smuggled merchandise enter without any control. The same sources explain that the mechanism was simple: Romania, Arab or Chinese citizens introduced merchandise through the Port of Constanta with undervalued paperwork.
The import company sold the merchandise to a shadow company which sold the merchandise to another company that sold them on the Romanian market. Taxes should have been paid by the shadow company.
Romania libera reads that anti graft prosecutors started investigations against several businessmen, customs officers and even customs chiefs in Constanta Sud Agigea, all accused of taking and receiving bribe, being part of an organized criminal network.
Gandul reads that opposition parties claim that the investigation of Democratic Liberal Party Senator Mircea Banias ends rumours according to which several PDL members wanted to leave the party and join the opposition. The opposition claims that all actions have been targeted against those members who wanted to leave the party that would allow the opposition to receive majority in the Parliament.
PSD leader Victor Ponta said that PDL is blackmailing its members to remain in the governing coalition.
Romanian state owned railway transports company, CFR Marfa announced plans to lay off 3000 people and decrease working days by 2 days in an attempt to limit costs, Romania libera reads. CFR Marfa is one of the many state owned companies monitored by the IMF. Unions have been informed of the decision and have been consulted on the matter.
Union leaders consider that this measure breaches the labour contracts within the company and does not comply to all laws in force. Union leaders claim that any restructuring should start at the top, with the management since it proved it did not have the capacity to resolve the problems of the company.
Romania libera reads that Romanians in Spain were voted in the local elections even though they did not win any seats in the four constituencies they ran. The newspaper reads that the Romanian Party in Spain received in some places more votes from the Spanish than from the Romanians. In the same time, the party was not well received everywhere. In Villamanrique de Tajo a village nearby Madrid they encountered a xenophobic attitude.