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What the newspapers say: June 5, 2007

Marţi, 5 iunie 2007, 0:00

Romanian newspapers on Tuesday put their cannons on ex-Prime Minister Adrian Nastase whom anti-graft prosecutors accuse of Mafia-like dealings to launder money. Political deals by which the current, apparently isolated government is trying to gain momentum also draw considerable interest in the media.

And the papers get a taste for social cases with debates about the fate of ethnic Rromas in school or about hospitals where one can die of Caesarean operation.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that the money laundering case opened by National Anticorruption Department (DNA) prosecutors against ex-prime minister Adrian Nastase is based on “traces” of information and on statements of former employees.

That is because the money laundering file put up against Nastase disappeared 7 years ago and its recovery is impossible now, the newspaper claims.

Nastase’s indictment for a series of charges related to an unexplained part of his and his wife Dana Nastase’s wealth, known in Romania as the “Aunt Tamara” case, is extensively dealth with in the papers.

According to Cotidianul, the indictment proves the ex-PM lied to prosecutors when he told them that he had not known a key character, Ioan Melinescu, when he named him head at the Office for Money Laundering Prevention in the early 2000’s.

The purpose of Melinescu’s nomination was allegedly focused on covering the traces of the money laundering scheme. And Romania libera writes about a “Mafia-style” understanding between Nastase and Melinescu: mutual, silent and based on subtle allegations.

Meanwhile, newspapers deal with the struggle of the governing National Liberal Party (PNL) and its leader, PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, to find alliances that would stand up against the still very popular Democratic Party-PD, author of a motion against the government which is due to be discussed this week.

According to Cotidianul, Tariceanu is pushing for a new center-rightist alliance that would welcome faces that have largely disappeared from the political stage, but that were extremely active in the early days of post-communist democracy.

The alliance would welcome the National Peasants Party (PNTCD) and a new group, the Popular Action, led by ex-President Emil Constantinescu.

Both Constantinescu and PNTCD are closely linked to the dramas and crises of the 1997-2000 governments, but also to the movement against Communist apparatchiks that remained in power through the nineties, including ex-President Ion Iliescu.

But, according to Romania lbiera, that is not the only move the Liberals are trying now. According to the newspaper, the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD) - honorarily led by Ion Iliescu - has urged PM Tariceanu to accept a partnership between the PSD and PNL.

But Tariceanu would rather have a secret affair with the PSD than a public one as demanded by PSD leader Mircea Geoana, the paper claims.

According to Gandul, the first negotiations between the two groups were held in secrecy on Sunday and focuss on a formula that would have the PNL and PSD share the government, thus granting it a majority in Parliament. The current PNL government does not have a majority.

Elsewhere in the papers today, a social drama largely exploited by the media over the past week - the suicide of a student in love with his teacher - has fuelled the appetite for social cases in the papers.

Evenimentul Zilei turns its attention today on a “ghetto-hospital” where a woman died after undergoing a Caesarean operation on Friday. The woman’s husband has submitted a complaint at a key medical body, complaining that the ones to blaime were doctors and assistants who ignored her completely.

And Gandul quotes experts who discuss the fate of ethnic Rroma children who have to fight between their will to go to school and their parents’ will to have them at home and married at a very young age. The debate was sparked by the suicide of a Rroma girl whose parents withdrew her from school.

Also in the papers today:
  • Romania libera reports that about 1,000 hectares of forests including over 300 ha in the tourism area of Bucegi Mountains, north of Bucharest, were retroceded illegally under the previous government led by Adrian Nastase.

    Much of the land is situated in natural reservations and protected areas, but has landed in the property of Nastase’s cronies.

  • Speaking of post-communist retrocessions, Gandul reports that much of the yard of the Romanian public television, a land of extraordinary value, is claimed back by former owners in court.

  • Also in Gandul, the head of the Institute for Animal Health and Diagnosis in Bucharest, Stefan Nicolae, turned swine fever in a family business. The paper reports that Nicolae wa found by fiscal inspectors to have arranged a public bidding for the procurement of medical kits for swine fever.

  • Cotidianul reports that construction works inspectors have stopped works on several portions of a highway built by US company Bechtel in Transylvania because of a bad planning that helped Bechtel save money but would have led to considerable damages to the road fast.

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