Romania Ex-President Faces Money-Laundering Charge

Traian Basescu says he is being investigated in a case concerning real estate that he bought while he was Mayor of Bucharest.

Romania’s ex-president Traian Basescu on Wednesday said the Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, PICCJ, had accused him of money laundering.

“I have been officially informed by PICCJ that I am suspected of money laundering… related to the purchase of a land plot and a house in 2000 and 2002,” he wrote on Facebook. “I must inform that the PICC dropped criminal charges in this case on June 25, 2012 when investigators decided not to begin a criminal prosecution. “The file was reopened in 2015 on the PICCJ’s request. Up to this moment, I haven’t been subpoenaed by the PICCJ. When I receive a subpoena, I will definitely go to the prosecutor handling this case,” he added.

Basescu also said that he had been accused over a complaint filed by Mugur Ciuvica, ex-president Emil Constantinescu’s advisor and a controversial political analyst.

Judicial sources cited by the media said the events under investigation were linked to Costel Casuneanu, a businessman whose companies obtained several infrastructure contracts, paid for from public funds, while Basescu and his party were in power. In 2000, when Basescu was Mayor of Bucharest, he allegedly purchased a land plot in northern Bucharest for a below-market cost and sold it two years later to Casuneanu’s sister-in-law for the going market rate.

The former head of state now heads the right-wing People’s Movement [Miscarea Populara], PMP, and is reportedly preparing to run for the post of Mayor of Bucharest in the local elections in June 5, although no official announcement has been made.

Basescu was Mayor of Bucharest from 2000 to 2004 and then President of Romania between 2004 and 2014, serving two consecutive terms.

Balkan Insight

20 April 2016