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Jurnalul.ro Vechiul site Old site English Version Basescu erased all his debts

Basescu erased all his debts

de Andrei Badin    |    14 Mar 2008   •   00:00

When he was the Minister of Transport, President Traian Basescu promoted an emergency decree that erased a debt of 200,000 USD plus interest from the Agricultural Bank, a loan which he obtained when he was a Parliament Member.

When he was the Minister of Transport, President Traian Basescu promoted an emergency decree that erased a debt of 200,000 USD plus interest from the Agricultural Bank, a loan which he obtained when he was a Parliament Member.

In the period in which he had several public jobs, between 1994 and 2001, politician Traian Basescu and his family have obtained more than 1 million USD from the PHARE-EU funds for Romania. The story of Basescu’s prosperity emphasizes certain aspects of his life that he condemns these days. According to the credit contract no. 10120 on the 18th of May 1994, the family of Traian Basescu received a loan from the Agricultural Bank (Raiffeisen Bank today). The money came from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and were to be used by his firm, Star Marine Ltd. The sum loaned was 158,000 USD plus 41,375,000 ROL (39,500 USD). According to the copy of the contract that we received, the date for the exchange rate was considered the day in which he submitted the file, which was more convenient for Traian Basescu. Moreover, the President’s ice-cream firm also benefited from preferential interest rates. The purpose for which the Basescu family obtained the money was the purchase of an ice-cream production line from Technogel. The shareholders of Star Marine at that time were Maria Basescu, the President’s wife, and his brother, Mircea. In time, the company suffered several changes and Traian Basescu became one of the shareholders.

ROMANIANS SHOULD PAY!. The preferential interest rate was 9% for USD and 140% for lei. It was the same rate for a period of 5 years. However, this wasn’t enough for the current President. In the meantime, the bank got bankrupt and the President thought he could take advantage from that. In 1997, Basescu was the Minister of Transport in the Ciorbea Government. This is when the political ascension of Politician Traian Basescu began. Besides the permanent sabotage of the Executive, a part of which he was as well, Basescu and the Democrat Party tried to benefit from their position. Therefore, Traian Basescu and DP planned an emergency decree, no. 43 in 1997, which annulled the loans from the Agricultural Bank for a certain number of people and companies. Of course, the current President didn’t forget to put the company of his wife and brother.

DISRESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION. On the 10th of July 1997, Basescu was the one who placed the company of his wife and brother on the list of the companies that didn’t have to pay the debts. The state was to pay for those debts with the money from the taxpayers. It is kind of the same thing as in the case of Bancorex where the people had to pay for the big bill. Basescu proposed, the Government approved, and 200,000 USD plus interest got in the pocket of the current President. A year later, the World Bank and the IMF condemned these illegal actions. After the protests of the international financial organisms, the Government had to annul the trick planned by Basescu. Actually, we received a document from the Agricultural Bank that confirms the approval of the emergency decree mentioned before as well as of the one that referred to the annulment of the debts. In 1997, in order to hide the conflict of interest in which he was involved, Basescu asked not to publish the list of the companies that didn’t have to pay. This is how he broke the Constitution that says that only the military information is exempted from being published in the Official Gazette.  

POLITICAL ADVANTAGE. The document signed by Director Ionel Ferastrau from Raiffeisen Bank on the 12th of November 2001 said the debts of the Basescu family had been paid in 1999 and confirmed the existence of the emergency decree that we mentioned before. As a whole, Basescu’s family took the money almost for nothing if we take into account the interest and the exchange rates in this case. In 1994, the exchange rate for 1 USD was 1.655 lei and in 1998, 1 USD valued 875 lei. In the same time, in 1998-1999, the interest rates for the loans in lei reached even 250%, but the family of the President got the money with an interest rate of only 140%.

POLITICAL POSITION MAKES BUSINESS. On the 18th of January 2000, Traian Basescu, Minister of Transport at that time, stated in the “Curentul” newspaper: “I have 20% of an ice-cream company that was developped with a PHARE loan of 1,000,000 USD”. The money came from the EU funds that were supposed to help the Romanian small and medium enterprises. On the 3rd of March 2000, newspaper “Evenimentul Zilei” wrote that the company of the Basescu family had obtained a loan of 100 million lei from the Tiriac Bank and expected a PHARE loan of 50,000 USD for development. This was the period in which he was the Romanian negotiator in the relation with several European organisms and the World Bank.  In other words, Basescu used his position in order to obtain advantages for his private business. We also have to mention that while he was the Minister of Transport, Traian Basescu was a shareholder at two companies that took care of marine and coast transportation as well as of maintenance, service and dismemberment of ships. This is exactly the field of activity of the Ministry of Transport. Therefore, he broke the 104th Article of the Romanian Constitution. Moreover, Traian Basescu used the protocol apartment that was given to him as headquarters for one of his companies, MT Vega Transport Ltd, which wasn’t legal.

CONFIRMATION. The Court confirmed the accusations against Traian Basescu. An action for libel started after Valerian Stan, the former Head of the Ciorbea Government Control Group, talked about the loan in 1994 and the other strange business of the current President. The Court decided Stan did not slander Basescu.