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Romania ex-Transport minister's crony involved in US Army contracts at Kogalniceanu base

Luni, 6 august 2007, 0:00

Photo: AP

The US Army has started to provide contracts of millions of US dollars for basic services at the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase in Romania where some 1,000 American troops are expected to arrive by mid-August this year.

A Romanian firm that has won tenders of over 1 million dollars is Romprest Service SA (cleaning services), a company managed among others by Florian Walter-Busca, a shareholder of the Bucharest-based football club Dinamo and a crony of ex-Transport minister Miron Mitrea.

Mitrea is an influential member of the now-in-opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD).

The money involved in four 1-year contracts, according to tenders in Germany, amount to about 1.5 million USD, company representatives have told The company provides cleaning services, road and green area maintenance, car washing and others.

“This is the nominal value. We believe the money will be smaller”, says Constantin Viorel Ene, Romprest foreign relations manager. That is because Kogalniceanu is a temporary base, he says.

The majority shareholder in Romprest is a US-registered company, Detaco LLC, which controls 60% of the firm. Another 10% belongs to the Henry Coanda Airport in Bucharest. Investment fund 3i Group PLC has recently entered the firm by taking over the shares previously owned by Cristi Borcea, executive manager of Dinamo football club.

Florian Busca-Walter
Photo: Rompres

Another Dinamo shareholder numbers among the Romprest managers - Florian Walter, a controversial character who sources say is one of the businessmen in control of Romprest via Detaco, the US-based company.

A former PSD councilor in Bucharest, Busca is known to be close and even related to influential PSD member Miron Mitrea. When Mitrea served as Transport minister, Romprest used to receive contracts of millions of euro from the Transport Ministry.

And Busca is also believed to have contributed to Mihai Necolaiciuc, a former Romanian Railways manager with 14 criminal cases on his name, leaving the country in 2005.

Another Romania-based company that has been selected by the US Army is Danubius Travel Agency, which will deliver furniture and buses and deal with the transportation of equipment, according to announcements posted by the US Army Contracting Command Europe on the Internet. The agency was bought by German tourism group TUI several years ago.

The competition of US Army contracts started in spring this year when 50 companies attended at an offer-launching conference in Mamaia, a resort on the Romanian Black Sea coast.

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