Reply To President Traian Basescu's Claim That Jurnalul National Lied About His Businesses
Basescu said the Jurnalul National article was basically one fat lie. To this statement, the author of that article gives his own reply
Upon his return Friday from a trip abroad, President Traian Basescu made strong statements against the alleged media attacks targeting himself and his family. Jurnalul National was one of the media outlets mentioned in Basescu's speech, for an article published in its Friday issue, detailing the businesses ran by Basescu's family between 1994 and 2001.
Basescu said the Jurnalul National article was basically one fat lie.
To this statement, the author of that article gives his own reply:
• The President should recall his own statements regarding the prosperity his family arrived at while running the now famous ice-cream factory;
• I am not a partner of Mugur Ciuvica, of the Group for Political Investigation. I had no connections, ever, with this organization. I met Ciuvica only once, some seven years ago;
• I never stated that the bank credit which the company owned by the President's brother and wife took in 1994 would have been provided via the PHARE funding. The credit was granted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, at a lower interest rate than on the free market – a preferential treatment the President failed to address in his public statement. He also failed to mention that the collateral for this credit was the apartment he owned in Constanta city, and that he paid the credit back with a delay;
• In 1997 the Government adopted and emergency ordinance annulling debts some companies had to the Rural Bank şlater bought by Raiffeisen Bank, Austriaţ. I did not say the President, then the Transportation minister, actually initiated the ordinance. But I did say that the President used his position to get the company owned by his family on the list of companies “forgiven” from paying their debts, and that he also worked towards keeping from publication in the Official Journal the appendices to the ordinance where these companies were listed. Thus, Mr. President, you performed in an illegal and immoral manner. And, incidentally, that Government was not headed by Mugur Isarescu, as you wrongly stated;
• Mr. President, you made repeated public statements about the ice-cream company owned by your family members. Now you try to dissociate yourself from it.
• However, what stays as a matter of public record is this: Friday night you said “I had never had a PHARE credit line. But on January 18, 2000, the media recorded you stating that “I have 20% ownership in an ice-cream company built on a PHARE credit of one million dollars.” And on March 3, 2000, daily Evenimentul zilei wrote that you got other bank credits too, or a 100 million lei credit at the time, and that you were about to get a 50,000 USD worth credit from PHARE funding;
• In your statement Friday you did not answer the accusations made by Jurnalul National regarding the fact that you were breaking the law while holding the position of Transportation minister, since you were also acting as a sole administrator for two companies active in the transportation sector: Triton Company SA and MT Vega Transport SRL. Furthermore, the latter company had its fiscal address at the Government funded home you lived in, which again was in breach of the law;
• The statements I made in the article you challenge, Mr. President, were based on further documentation I made, starting from the initial accusations leveled against you by the former head of the Government Control Body, Valerian Stan. He was the one to first bring up publicly the fact that you took a credit in 1994 and that you tried to annul your debt to the Rural Bank by way of the 1997 ordinance. You took Stan to court for slander, on these allegations, but the court decided in a February 12, 2002 ruling that no slander was involved, thus crediting the allegations as being factually true. Hence, trying to level against Jurnalul National accusations of slender cannot stand trial, since a court already ruled on the matter.
• What stays, though, it is your decision, Mr. President, to manipulate the public opinion with choosing to not answer the well documented questions raised up by your dubious behavior as a public servant, with distorting the statements made in the article and with leveling accusations against your political enemies, while claiming that you are a victim;
In fact, the only victim here is the public and the public office you abused. You, Mr. President, failed to tell the truth and cast outright lies to cover your tracks.
• Translated by Anca Păduraru