The head of an influential press distribution group ordered all copies of the economic weekly Saptamana Financiara be seized at the head office of his company following news that this Monday’s issue of the newspaper contained a sensational investigation on his family’s businesses, the weekly accused today.

Hassan Awdi and his brothers were also accused of attempting to prevent the publication of the investigative report over the weekend and of threatening the guarding personnel of the Saptamana Financiara (Financial Week, aka SFIN) offices.

The Rodipet management justified the disturbance of the distribution due to personnel shortage on May 1, a day off throughout the country, and requested a personal meeting with Mihai Craiu (general manager), Radu Preda (editor-in-chief) and Robert Veress (author of the article). However, SFIN was the only publication affected by this personnel shortage, according to a SFIN press release.

"The Saptamana Financiara magazine considers that the actions of Awdi brothers represent an attempt of intimidation and censorship of the press, and requests authorities to take action right away," the press release adds.

The article called "The secrets of famiglia Awdi" hints at the Italian- mafia- like system that lies at the base of the Awdi businesses in Romania. With Lebanese origins, the Awdi family members have taken more citizenships, American included, and decided to establish in Romania in the early 90’s.

Their business started with appliances trade and expanded now to press distribution by holding Rodipet S.A.

The head of the clan, Hassan Awdi, US citizen, made strong political connections in Romania, and due to well cooked up businesses managed to rank 13 in top of U.S. investors in Romania, and 9 in the top of richest Arabs in Romania, with possessions valued at 6 mln dollars.

The wealth builds on fraudulent privatizations, phantom companies, money laundering, as SFIN reveals.

More over, there is also a link of the family to the terrorist Hezbollah movement, as Hassan Awdi’s brother, who tried to become an MP into the Lebanese Parliament, declared himself a supporter of the organization.