Journalist Paul Radu, investigative journalist with the Rise Project – the media partner for disclosures regarding the off-shores in Panama – said on Tuesday for Digi24 TV that he has information about more than 100 names in Romania that will be disclosed as investigations will advance.
“It is cross-border collaboration, we already have more than 100 names in Romania, but it’s not a copy/paste operation, meaning data are not taken over from the database and then put them quickly online, it’s about investigations. We have started some six months ago and we are ten people involved in the investigations. We analyse the data, and work with programmers. Besides, we work with journalists abroad from the ICIJ investigation network. We will work in the coming weeks as well, in the next month for certain,” said the investigative journalist.
According to him, those involved are important people in Romania, some of them well-known.
“I cannot give you names now, but in general they are business people who have a great impact on the country’s economy,” Paul Radu said.
Rise Project will reveal a series of surveys, views, information about people, about how they used offshore companies. It’s not just about companies in Panama, it is about companies set up by lawyers in Panama, but some of them are in Seychelles, others in British Virgin Islands, in the Bahamas, everywhere in offshore jurisdictions.
At the same time, the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) on Tuesday informed that it’s probing into the information following “Panama Papers” investigations to establish if its current or previous cases contain elements that can confirm the details revealed by the investigation.
However, DIICOT states that the National Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering would be more entitled to conduct the investigation. “DIICOT will make an assessment for the ongoing or previous cases, to see if there are unknown elements and if we can corroborate information. A wider analysis should be made by the Office for Prevention and Control of Money Laundering. That would be the order of authority,” DIICOT says.
Frank Timis: All investors prefer to invest in offshore companies
Vasile Frank Timis, the Romanian with Australian citizenship, is the one who had initiated the Rosia Montana business and collaborated with Mossack Fonseca. 20 years ago, he ran businesses in Romania through a company founded in the Bahamas by lawyers in Panama. Frank Timis is not hiding. He says he has at least 30 companies registered in such tax havens.
“Yes, I have companies in the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. All investors prefer to invest in companies registered there because when they sell their shares, they pay 1 to 5 %, not 30% tax on the shares’ profit. These things are done for years, I mean, 50, 60, 70 years. Of course I’m not willing to pay 30% tax on shares’ profits instead of paying 5%,” said Frank Timis, exclusively for tvr.ro.
The offshore companies are not illegal.
Other Romanians involved
The Public Registry of Panama shows that, over time, many Romanian businessmen have registered offshore companies in Panama jurisdiction, digi24.ro reports.
Dragos Buzaianu, the nephew of businessman Bogdan Buzaianu, has registered an offshore company in the Republic of Panama since 2014. On this occasion he declared also his residence in the Central American country.
Dragos Buzaianu lives in Romania, where he works with a company that deals with tobacco trade.
The Public Registry of Panama shows also other Romanian businessmen had offshore companies in Panama: Iosif Constantin Dragan’s family and Carol Viorel Dichiu.
Iosif Constantin Dragan’s widow, Spanish citizen, has many businesses in Romania, including in the field of distribution of liquefied petroleum gas and real estate.
Carol Dichiu is involved in the business of recycling metal waste and scrap in Constanta Port.
ANAF to check tax implications
The National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has initiated an interdepartmental working group for checking the fiscal implications of the information published by investigative journalism project ‘Panama Papers’, the institution announced on Tuesday.
“Resources have been allocated to analyze data from open sources on the identity of individuals and legal entities and their correlation with the existing specific databases relating to accounts, shares in companies, domestic or international transactions,” a statement from ANAF reads.