An influential businessman-politician nominated for the seat of deputy prime minister faces trouble with his past as new elements appeared on Tuesday supporting the idea that he collaborated with ex-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s secret police, the Securitate, newspapers report today.
A suspicious clause in the contract by which the Romanian state bought two frigates from British company BAE Systems comes to light. The drama of children left home by Romanians going to work abroad and the first major Romanian writer to see print in the form of cartoons are luring interested readers.
The body studying the archives of Ceausescu’s Securitate, CNSAS, announced today that it discovered what seems to be two “network files” on the name of Dan Voiculescu, a powerful businessman who is also the leader of the Conservative Party – a junior member of the governing coalition.
The news came just as Voiculescu was preparing to take over the seat of deputy prime minister, left vacant by another member of his group who resigned recently.
While Voiculescu has been denying any link with the Securitate since the 1989 revolution, CNSAS finally managed to produce evidence on “network files” that suggest he in fact did collaborate with the Communist secret police, Cotidianul reports.
According to the newspaper, such files were used in the case of informers – which comes short of full-fledged Securitate collaborators.
That would not prevent Voiculescu yesterday from holding a press conference in which he insisted again that he was not a member of the Securitate, nor did he accomplish political police activities.
For its part, Evenimentul Zilei quotes unconfirmed information that Voiculescu – who built a business empire at the beginning of the nineties, after operating businesses abroad during the Ceausescu regime – had a codename in the Securitate evidence.
The codename, “Felix” remains to be confirmed in order to prove that he in fact ran political police activities, according to the newspaper.
And Gandul focuses on the content of the two “network files”, which relate to the period of Voiculescu’s youth when he was a hockey player and – as he himself suggested yesterday - the Securitate wanted to know whether any of his team mates was planning to flee the country.
Meanwhile, Romania Libera launches a scathing attack on Razvan Theodorescu, a PSD Senator and member of the Romanian Academy, whom it accuses of being an informer of the Securitate based on evidence that should have been destroyed more than a decade ago, when piles of Securitate files were razed in a scandal that reverberated for years.
The second “issue of the day” is the so-called frigates scandal related to the dubious terms of a contract by which the Romanian state bought two second-hand frigates from British company BAE Systems several years ago.
A week after details of “secret commissions” involved in the deal were published in British newspaper The Guardian, Romanian Defense minister Teodor Atanasiu spoke of a contractual clause that says should proof of potential bribery in the negotiation of the contract come to light, the British part must return to the Romanians all the money it obtained on shady ways.
For Cotidianul, it is just a “bribery safeguarding clause” as it does nothing but to protect the secret commissions said to have circulated in the negotiations.
And it quotes the Romanian signatories of the document who confirm that such a clause exists and that it only refers to the value of the commissions – not the whole value of the deal - 116 million pounds.
For its part, Jurnalul National quotes Romanian investigators who say some 7 million pounds thought to represent the secret commission paid in the frigate deal reached an account in the Guernsey Island, one of the off-shore paradises usually linked to money laundering and tax dodging.
Guernsey, part of the Channel Islands, is in the immediate vicinity of the Jersey Island, another off-shore where BAE is said to have paid a 7 million pound commission to the Qatar Foreign Ministry in a contract over the sale of Hawk fighter planes.
Elsewhere in the newspapers, Cotidianul announces that internationally reputed Romanian writer Mircea Cartarescu will have one of his book turned into a graphic novel for the French market, under the signature of French cartoonist Edmond Baudoin.
It says it is the second such collaboration for Cartarescu, who also had part of this “Orbitor” novel turned into a cartoon book.
And the newspaper reports that the Romanian readers of such books can be counted on fingers, despite they include mainstream cultural personalities of the day.
Evenimentul Zilei reports that a huge number of children who were left behind by Romanians going to work and make a better living on Spanish farms or elsewhere in Europe face trouble and many have to deal with their absent parents through psychologic sessions.
About 11,000 “home alone” children left in the hands of relatives of neighbors by their parents live in the Eastern city of Iasi alone, according to the newspaper.