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What the newspapers say: February 20, 2006

Luni, 20 februarie 2006, 0:00

Dana Nastase

Theoretically, Romania is run these days by a political alliance between the Democrats and the Liberals. But true power stands in the hands of an alliance of interests, as recent events have proven, newspapers agree. Again on Monday, their main interest stays in various acts of corruption, while one paper brings and alternative to the idea of "free money".

Power overlaps with business in Romanian politics, Cotidianul writes.

It shows how one of the central figures of the latest Romanian news, businessman Dinu Patriciu – investigated for organized crime and various other abuses – is not only a close partner of the current Liberal prime minister, but also had links with the former Social Democratic government.

These relationships stand above the policies of the current governing alliance, where essential laws for the fight against corruption have failed in Parliament due to disinterest and a lack of unity between governing parties.

For its part, Evenimentul Zilei rounds up in its Sunday edition the story of oil and corruption and how they affected the Patriciu family over the years. While Patriciu’s company Rompetrol lost 3.5% on the Bucharest Stock Exchange on Friday alone, the most to suffer are his wife and daughters, the newspaper considers.

Today, Evenimentul Zilei changes targets and writes about a new accusation of bribery for Dana Nastase, wife to former PM Adrian Nastase. Her name appears along those of ex-Transport minister Miron Mitrea and others in a new graft case currently prepared by the National Anti-Corruption Department.

A businessman in the city of Constanta claims he was forced to give USD 200,000 in bribes in order to obtain a project for the Cernavoda-Agigea highway, where works started in 2003.

Speaking of highways, Gandul writes the Tariceanu government has decided to declare the renegotiated contract with Bechtel for the construction of a major highway in Romania a state secret.

The Government has approved the latest version of the contract in its latest session and "authorized sources" told the newspaper the contract does not include penalties in case the contract is dropped, as the government announced.

While the main focus for today’s newspaper is the dark side of money, business media in Bucharest turns to the bright side: credits. Ziarul Financiar believes the era of cheap dollars for credits is over as a US tendency to rise interest rates has been adopted by the Romanian banking market.

Cotidianul is less theoretical and brings around the facts: starting today, Romanians may go for a new 10,000-euro credit where the lender – the Romanian Development Bank (BRD-SocGen) - claim no guarantees, but stay cautious with additional commissions.

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