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Industrialist Ovidiu Tender Owes His Shirt to the State

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29 Iun 2004 - 00:00

BUSINESS - June 29 2004

One of the most influential and highly publicized businessmen in Romania, Ovidiu Tender, owes his very shirt to the state. Romanian public coffers should get back more than 6,500 billion lei (some 197 million dollars) from the various companies Tender owns.

VLAD MATEESCU

A simple search on the web site of the Romanian Ministry of Finance (www.mfin.ro) would show that Ovidiu Tender, a man deemed to be one of the wealthiest in Romania with an estimated 140 million dollars to his name, is also one of the most indebted people to the state. Tender is also the leader of the General Union of Romanian Industrialists (UGIR 1903, by its Romanian acronym) and this elected position should have guaranteed he behaves as a model of proper business practices. Instead, he owes huge amounts of money to the state budget, while honest lay citizens are queuing for hours to pay their income taxes to the state.

Some of the bigger debtors among the companies Tender owns are: Carom Onesti (with 4,342 billion lei, that is 132 million dollars), Atlas GIP (with 683 billion lei, or 20.6 million dollars), Vulcan Bucuresti (with 289 billion lei, or 8.7 million dollars) and Videlmar (with 70 billion lei, that is 2.1 million dollars).
It is a feat of wonder that his companies had their payment of debts rescheduled, or maybe of feat the public officials with the Ministry of Finance and the former Authority for Privatization and Administration of State Ownership (with Romanian acronym APAPS).
Some of Tender’s companies had their deadlines for payment of debts postponed, others had some of the fines lifted, while others, like Vulcan Bucuresti, had a very uncommon extension of the time it was placed under supervised administration, following it filing for bankruptcy.
Tender, the businessman to not miss one presidential or governmental trip abroad, also siphoned out financial and human resources from the companies he bought, by way of other companies he set up for this purpose.

Tender is the man who sponsored a meeting of Western secret services in Romania, but also the one whose name popped up in media reports connecting him to the NATO official, Willem Matser, who was arrested on money laundering charges. At some point, Tender wanted to buy the biggest state-owned company, the SNP Petrom oil-company. When it made its offer, the Tender business group relied on the influence it may have exerted with having its name linked to the American company Halliburton, that U.S. Vice-president Dick Cheney presided over before taking office. But the Tender’s business group bidding was rejected by the privatization commission for failure to comply with requirements for the bidding process.

Translation: ANCA PADURARU

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