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What the media say: February 23, 2006

Joi, 23 februarie 2006, 0:00

Businessman Dinu Patriciu

Romanian company Rompetrol prepares to confront the Romanian state over the "prejudice" the company has suffered in the current organized crime inquiry against its head Dinu Patriciu. The confrontation is due at the World Bank International Court of Arbitration, but the Romanian Finance Ministry looks unprepared for it, according to reports.

Newspapers also tackle the latest disputes in Parliament over the graft case against former PM Adrian Nastase. Who might as well be dragged into the Rompetrol scandal. And troubled waters rise on the governing alliance following new allegation of links with Patriciu.

Evenimentul Zilei focuses on the judicial moves of Rompetrol Group against the Romanian state from which demands compensations for the prejudice suffered by its head Patriciu in the ongoing inquiry against him.

But while the businessman has hired strong legal representatives, the Romanian Finance Ministry run by minister Sebastian Vladescu is not ready for defense, according to the newspaper. had warned that both PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu and minister Vladescu, both Liberals, would not seem fully willing, ready and able to defend the interest of the Romanian state at the World Bank Court of Arbitration.

When the confrontation was spiraling by the end of 2005, the prime minister spoke against the state and in favor of Patriciu, considering the businessman’s arrest "a situation of abuse".

The current judicial moves against Rompetrol and Dinu Patriciu may now include former prime minister Adrian Nastase, according to a report on the Antena 3 TV news station.

Nastase, who faces a separate graft inquiry, would be grilled as under his government the debts Petromidia (part of the Rompetrol group) had to the state budget were turned into shares.

The case has already led to a hearing request for the then Industry ministry Dan Ioan Popescu, but he failed to meet the prosecutors.

Also on Antena 3, a former aide to President Traian Basescu, Elena Udrea, has challenged the authorities to check the funding means of the Institute for Free Initiative, a foundation that brings together several Liberal leaders including Dinu Patriciu.

Udrea, who has left the Liberals to join their partners in the current governing alliance, the Democrats, claims that Dinu Patriciu might have used the foundation to buy the political support of several liberals including PM Tariceanu and other members of the government.

But while all these occurred behind the scenes somehow, the highlight of the day was the vote of the House Judicial Committee to reject a prosecutors’ request to search houses owned by former PM Adrian Nastase in a huge graft scandal.

"An anti-Macovei, pro-Nastase vote", newspaper Adevarul writes, referring to the fact that the request was sent to the Committee by Justice minister Monica Macovei. Romania libera is shocked that Nastase dared to "threaten that he owns… dangerous files at home".

And Cotidianul insists that while Nastase uses all the means to resist the inquiry against him, his former Transport minister seemed more open to collaborate with the prosecutors when he faced them in a connected case yesterday morning.

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