The High Court of Cassation and Justice has pronounced the final verdict in the file of Baneasa Farm retrocession. Therefore, businessman Remus Truica was sentenced to 7 years in prison, Israeli businessmen Benjamin Steinmetz and Tal Silberstein to 5 years in prison each, while Prince Paul was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in jail.
Dan Andronic, journalist, director of EVZ newspaper, prosecuted in the same file received a sentence of 5 years on probation and community service.
Remus Truica was taken into custody by policemen from his house on Thursday right after the ruling had been pronounced.
As policemen did not find Prince Paul at home to take him in custody, he was put on APB. Sources from the investigation said that Paul would have left to Portugal. His wife, Lia, told police officers that he is away, but did not mention where. Policemen have checked every floor of the villa and searched Paul even under the bed and in the wardrobe.
Brasov Court of Appeal had pronounced different rulings in this high-sounding case in June 2019, Truică had been sentenced to four years in prison, while Prince Paul had got three years on suspension. The other defendants in the file, Dan Andronic, Benjamin Steinmetz, Tal Silberstein, Moshe Agavi, lawyer Robert Roșu, Lucian Mateescu and Marius Marcovici had been acquitted.
The prejudice in this file mounts to EUR 140 million.
The file was related to the restitution of some plots of land from the former royal Baneasa Farm and from Snagov Forest to Paul Philippe of Romania (aka Prince Paul of Romania), with the Israeli defendants Tal Silberstein, Beny Steinmetz, Moshe Agavi and others being involved in the retrocession procedures or about the purchase agreements related to those plots of land.
Benyamin Steinmetz allegedly was the leader of a network for illegal retrocession and the one who paid the money to buy influence, the Romanian prosecutors say.
In order to get support for the group’s interests, defendant Benyamin Steinmetz organised private parties in Israel or Monaco, inviting high ranking Romanian politicians, MPs and government members, consequently taking advantage of their names to prove his influence in relation with other people such as Prince Paul and public employees in charge with retrocession, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) says.
The prosecutors further say that the political influence of Remus Truica and Tal Silberstein, former head of governments’ advisers, was the very reason for which the two were co-opted in the group. The Romanian businessman failed to meet his partners’ confidence.
“Remus Truica has, through intermediaries, acquired a part of the land returned and also acquired a share of the proceeds as loan to Reciplia SRL. Under these circumstances, Remus Truică was forced to cede his parts in Reciplia LTD, being excluded from the criminal group,” the indictment reads.
The Reciplia company focused the interests of everyone involved. Prince Paul of Romania sold 80% of the rights in dozens of properties, including the ones he regained – the Snagov Forest and the Baneasa Farm.
The court decided in late December 2016 to partially lift legal restrictions for several persons prosecuted in the Baneasa Farm illegal retrocession case. Among them, there is also Prince Paul of Romania, businessman Remus Truica, journalist Dan Andronic, Andrei Marcovici, Nela Păvăloiu, Niculae Dima. Remus Truica and Prince Paul of Romania are allowed to leave Romania without the prosecution body’s previous consent.
Businessman Truica Remus and Prince Paul of Romania were indicted on May 18, 2016 by the DNA prosecutors in the illegal restitution file.
Remus Truica was charged with influence peddling, money laundering, establishment of an organized criminal group, bribery and complicity to abuse of office.
Prince Paul of Romania was accused of influence buying, money laundering and complicity to abuse of office.