Greek businessman to lodge criminal complaint against Catholic archbishop, Archdiocese in Bucharest

Greek businessman Ioannis Papalekas, the owner of Cathedral Plaza building erected near Saint Joseph Cathedral in Bucharest several years ago, will lodge a criminal complaint against Catholic Archbishop Ioan Robu and against the Catholic Archdiocese in Bucharest and will put in a claim for damages, in retort for the Archdiocese’s complaint last week. The Greek businessman argues that the complaints against him are denigrating and affects his image.

“The present actions of archbishop Ioan Robu (….) are the expression of a new visible abuse which causes me great prejudices both personally and professionally,” reads a press release issued by Papalekas, who added he is an honest, “pacifist” businessman, fully integrated in the Romanian society.

He said there is not and there was not any financial circuit between Romania and Cyprus through which some money coming from Romanian Financial Investments Societies would have been used in a personal interest, as the Archdiocese claimed. The businessman also pointed out that he bought the building according to a legal contract, for a real price according to the Romanian law.

Papalekas accused the Catholic Archdiocese of pressuring the judges through media channels ahead of important hearings. On April 1 a new hearing on the Cathedral Plaza situation is due at the Bucharest Tribunal.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bucharest lodged a complaint to the National Anti-corruption Directorate against Bucharest mayor Sorin Oprescu and against businessmen Dragos Bilteanu and Ioannis Papalekas last week, accusing them of criminal group affiliation for “denying to enforce the court ruling regarding Cathedral Plaza demolishing.”

“The criminal group consistently targets to obtain about EUR 70 million, the equivalent of the building’s assessment, through keeping it instead of demolishing and its potential bringing into service,” the Roman Catholic Archdiocese argues in the complaint. They also claim that businessmen Bilteanu and Ioannis Papalekas created a financial circuit in Bucharest and Nicosia, through which the money coming from Romanian Financial Investments Societies were laundered through Cypriot financial investments societies and invested in real estate projects in Romania.

The Archdiocese says there is a civil sentence ruled by Dambovita Tribunal in 2012 that compels Bucharest mayor to give green light to the illegal building erected near Saint Joseph Cathedral, namely Cathedral Plaza.

In retort, the Capital mayor Sorin Oprescu said that procedures regarding Cathedral Plaza are under way according to legal provisions and that the Catholic Archdiocese are ill-founded and denigrating.

According to a City Hall’s press release, mayor Oprescu has asked the building’s owner to start the demolition since 2011, but this disposal was challenged in court by this owner, S.C. Millenium Building Development Ltd and the file is still pending before the court of law.

Bucharestcathedral plazacatholic archbishopcatholic archdiocesecriminal complaintdamagesGreek businessmanioan robuIoannis Papalekas
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