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What the newspapers say: March 22, 2006

de     HotNews.ro
Miercuri, 22 martie 2006, 0:00



The ongoing turmoil on the Romanian political scene continued today and the newspapers would never miss any opportunity of revelations on plans of rupture within the main opposition party, the PSD. Media ressure intensifies on minister George Copos, while the owner of the Steaua football club is revealed to have admitted moves to fix games for a team that has reached the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.

Gandul leads a pack of dailies in spreading the information that ex-House speaker Adrian Nastase, fallen from grace within his Social Democratic Party (PSD, opposition), was ready to leave the political group, most probably on Thursday. Eight other parliamentarians may follow him out, the newspaper says.

Jurnalul National, a newspaper owned by the family of Conservative Party (PC) leader Dan Voiculescu, confirms the the reports.

And Evenimentul Zilei quotes PC sources saying that Nastase may announce he would join this small political group, which has become a junior member of the governing coalition following the 2004 elections.

And while Nastase – who has been under judicial investigation for acts of corruption – stayed muted yesterday, Cotidianul quotes PSD leader Mircea Geoana admitting that Nastase might leave the party.

Meanwhile, Romania libera reports that European officials have pressed Romanian Foreign minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu for the resignation of deputy prime minister George Copos, now that the issues raised by Adrian Nastase’s leadership positions were solved when he resigned as House speaker.

Copos is at the core of a scandal involving shady real estate deals between his business group and the Romanian Lottery. In a follow-up investigation, Cotidianul quotes the minister that he knew nothing of a Lottery intention to buy new offices, while the Lottery says it had bought 38 new offices from Copos’ company Ana Electronic.

A lottery might also be the custom of Romanian football moguls to fix matches. While the customs were "public knowledge", they couldn’t be proven by the media or by anybody else. Until now.

Evenimentul Zilei reports that the owner of the Steaua Bucharest football club, which is due to face Rapid Bucharest in the UEFA Cup quarterfinals, admitted in a TV show that he has fixed matches by either bribing players from rivaling teams or referees.

Steaua owner Gigi Becali said in a football show on National TV on Monday night that it is not easy to fix games as it happened to him that a football player from a rival team would not accept 10,000 US dollars to procure a victory for Steaua. Even worse, that player scored in that match to a 3-1 loss for the Bucharest club.

And "scoring" might also be easy for people trying to dodge a Romanian moratorium on child adoptions, as Gandul reports. According to the newspaper, traffickers of orphans claim 9-12,000 US dollars from potential foster families abroad just for a "teleshopping-style presentation" and for pictures of a child.






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