Romanian tycoon, the only Eastern European who owns land outside EU

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Wealthy businessman Ovidiu Tender is the only investor in Eastern Europe that owns land in African states, according to a recent European Commission (EC) study analyzing the effects of Europeans grabbing land in non-EU countries, local media shows.

He is in EC database as initiator of the only two African land transactions of investors in Eastern Europe.

As of 2011, according to the report, Tender has concession contracts on a plot of 30,000 hectares in Gambia and other 100,000 hectares in Senegal. But both are unused lands, the agricultural or biofuels generating projects being at an early stage.

Four years ago Tender declared that he wants to cultivate jatropha on the lands in Gambia and Senegal, a shrub whose seeds can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine.

“On a 10-year period I intend to exploit one million hectares of farmland with this technical plant. I estimate an investment of USD 400-500 million only for jatropha,” Romanian tycoon said at that time.

According to the EC report, 182 companies in the European Union have over 5.8 million hectares outside the community. Most investors are from UK (60), Netherlands (18), Italy (17), France (17) and Spain (16), and among the states where they have leased or bought land are Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Indonesia, the Philippines, Namibia and Malawi.

Ovidiu Tender was sentenced in 2015 to 12 years and seven months in prison in the Carom file, being accused of fraud and money laundering, according to the decision of the Court of Appeal (CAB).

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