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What the newspapers say: February 22, 2006

Miercuri, 22 februarie 2006, 0:00

For the first time in many days, the Rompetrol affair drops lower on the front pages of Romanian newspapers today. But it’s still there, this time for the incredible fall of its share value yesterday. Still, it can’t fight for highlight against other events such what happens with part of the Orthodox Church wealth, or with the map of Romania, which might become a state secret.

Rompetrol shares feel the heat of a recent prosecutors’ proposal to arrest company head Dinu Patriciu, due to be decided upon within days, Adevarul writes. Share prices for the company fell close to the 15% limit yesterday and risk shipwrecking, Evenimentul Zilei considers.

Meanwhile Cotidianul shows that other companies controlled by Patriciu have suffered losses as well, and Ziarul Financiar quotes brokers who show the businessman’s troubles with the judiciary open the grounds for heavier speculations.

Things have been moving fast in the graft inquiry against ex-PM Adrian Nastase and his wife as well. Cotidianul notes that at a renewed house search at Nastase’s home in the Zambaccian St. in Bucharest, prosecutors used metal detectors yesterday.

And other newspapers believe they should use a mystery detector against a new witness in the case, Irina Jianu, former inspector general who is charged with bribery in the real estate transactions around the Zambaccian St. building.

"Ask Mr. Seicaru", she said, quoted by Romania libera, when asked by the media about her involvement in the affair. As there is no known Mr.

Seicaru in the current inquiry file, the newspaper believes she referred arrogantly to a notorious Romanian saying – "Santajul si etajul" (The Blackmail and the house floor) by Romanian writer Pamfil Seicaru.

Gandul, for its part, is more worried that if a recent draft on the "procurement, possession and management of geographical information by the National Defense Ministry" becomes law, than the maps of Romania and real estate planners from the city halls will become classified information.

And Ziua focuses on a House decision to reject a Romanian-Hungarian accord to remove part of the wealth of the Orthodox Church and to place it under the control of a new Foundation in Hungary.

The rejection of such an accord would be a first for Romania, believes the newspaper, which has militated against the deal supported by Romanian and Hungarian PMs Tariceanu and Gyurcsany.

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