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No preventive custody for Rompetrol chairman

Joi, 16 februarie 2006, 0:00

Bucharest Tribunal rejected on Thursday evening the prosecutors' preventive custody request for the Romanian businessman Dinu Patriciu, Rompetrol oil group's chairman, according to TV stations broadcast. A new hearing term was set for March 3, until when the other two Rompetrol executives cited must return to Romania.

The prosecutors requested Patriciu's preventive custody for 29 days, along with his partners Phil Stephenson, vice-president of Rompetrol and Colin R Hart, the off-shore representative of Cyprus Saltville Limited, both of them having fled Romania earlier this year.

The Bucharest Tribunal rejected the request on grounds of misuse of procedure, as the accused had not been officially cited.

After the hearings that lasted for more than six hours on Thursday, Patriciu told the media he had been served the same facts under new accusations: embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud in Repsol appropriation.

Prosecutors were investigating Patriciu and other Rompetrol executives for tax evasion and manipulation of the stock exchange with Rompetrol shares in April 2004, which the executives have repeatedly denied.

Dinu Patriciu said that this process was under political influence, naming the Romanian president Traian Basescu as the main culprit for his "harassment."

Dinu Patriciu is also accused of creating an organized crime ring that included journalist Sorin Rosca Stanescu, along with former IT&C minister Sorin Pantis and a high equities official, Paul Miclaus. Prime minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu was also linked to this group, as involved in a very lucrative deal concerning Rompetrol shares.

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