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Shock in the Final for BCR

Autor: Adrian Mihai Victor Ciutacu 18 Noi 2005 - 00:00
Shock in the Final for BCR

Philip H. Bloom, Bogdan Baltazar’s associate in a consulting company that is also involved in the BCR privatization, has been arrested in the USA. He is accused of multiple serious crimes, which includes bribery of approximately 700,000 US dollars for obtaining contracts in Iraq.

Partner of Bogdan Baltazar at the Baltazar, Bloom&Parvulescu company, he was arrested on the Newark International Airport in New Jersey for bribery. According to certain Governmental statements, he is accused of bribing the American officials of the Temporary Authority of the Coalition with more than 630,000 US dollars with the purpose of obtaining contracts regarding the reconstruction of Iraq. The incriminatory statement does not specify the total value of the contracts given to Bloom’s company, but it shows that, at least for the first half of last year, they got contracts with a value of more than 3.5 million US dollars. The list of accusations continues with: conspiracy, electronic transactions fraud, conspiracy regarding money laundry and interstate shipment of stolen goods. According to the American authorities, this would be the first case of corruption regarding the contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. The complaint, made public by the district Court in Washington, also refers to two accomplices, whose names haven’t been made public, who are representatives of the Temporary Authority of the Coalition - the American administration that governed Iraq in the period in which the contracts have been given, at the beginning of 2004. The two are officials that, together with their husbands or wives, have been bribed in order to give the contracts.

INTERESTS. The contracts in discussion don’t have any connections to any Romanian company, according to Baltazar, the president of the Baltazar, Bloom&Parvulescu, where the three partners have equal shares. In his opinion, it is very possible that the arrest of his partner was caused by his success in the business in Iraq that upset many important groups. "I am convinced that there was a lot of pressure, because the company had got that big that it had started to bother the huge corporations. The American Justice will decide if he is guilty or not", the BBP president says. He is not thinking of breaking the business relationship with the American until a decision of the American Justice will be given.

NO IRAQ. Baltazar, Bloom&Parvulescu has been initiated at the beginning of this year, when its representatives said that their target for the first year is a turnover of 50-60 million US dollars. Even though in its offer one can find consulting for the Romanian companies that want to start making business in Iraq, the company is yet to make such a deal. The contracts brought by Bloom to BBP have been some "insignificant contracts, feasibility contracts to be more precise, which included also the opening of a bank".

"SILENT". The deal the most present in the press, which was consulted by BBP, is the BCR privatization, where Millenium BCP was the client. The PR department of the Portuguese bank Millenium BCP during the privatization period is in fact the GMP-Ashley company, which also took care of President’s Traian Basescu image in the last electoral campaigns. On the phone, Felix Tataru, the general director of GMP-Ashley, stated for Jurnalul National that he has never seen Philip Bloom during this period. "I worked together with Bogdan Baltazar for Millenium BCP, but Phil hasn’t been involved. I have never met him", Tataru said. "Bloom was a silent partner in our company, and he had no involvement. I led all the business as a President and general director. I don’t go back on him, but I really don’t have any involvement in his activities in Iraq", Baltazar added. As for the company’s image, Baltazar places his stake on his reputation and believes that, no matter what, the company won’t have to suffer at all.

QUIETNESS. The Romanian prosecutors haven’t been able to offer any kind of information about this case. At first sight, our authorities did not know if there was any judicial file regarding any possible illegalities in the development of Philip Bloom’s deals. "Send a written complaint based on the Law 544/2001 and we will check them out", the representative of the Press Office, prosecutor Ramona Bulcu, stated for us yesterday. Confidential sources have said that the arresting of the American citizen is a strictly external matter and the Romanian authorities didn’t take part in it, not even the secret services. However, the name of Philip Bloom might appear at the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office accidentally, in the file regarding the violation of the confidentiality principle in the process of privatization of BCR. The prosecutors have been informed about this approximately 10 days ago. (Violeta Fotache, Miruna Pasa)

PROFIT FROM RISK AND RELATIONS. Philip Bloom is known in Romania as a good friend of the authorities in the past 15 years. He even had an office in the Ministry of Transport, when Traian Basescu was the Minister. Even from the beginning of the 90s, he has been involved in consulting for more privatizations and in financing projects for the Romanian Government. At the initiation of the company, Bloom was inviting the businessmen to "conquer" Iraq. The conflict areas are his favorites. Yugoslavia was another field that he exploited. Russia was also in hands. Bloom is also the owner of the Global Business Group consulting company, and Selena Parvulescu is the vice-president. The group is made of more companies that are active in the areas of business consulting, juridical services, real estate and IT. Among the contracts made since the beginning of the 90s there is also a credit of 110 million US dollars in a TAROM contract for the purchase of 5 Boeings 737-300 and the selling of the main shares from Astra Wagons, which has been taken over by Trinity Industries for 100 million US dollars. Bloom - investigated in the "Romaero deal" in 1998 - has been the manager of the PepsiCo operations in Eastern Europe between 1964 and 1972 and contributed to the opening of the franchise operations of the American producer in Romania, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Poland. Afterwards, he had become a consultant of the company, a direct subordinate of the Pepsi president. After that, he was the owner of the offshore company Cadecco between 1972 and 1983. The company regarded electronics, and some of the clients were the US Government and the Haitian-American Commerce Registry. After, he initiated Haiti Air Cargo.

It was very quiet at BBP Bucharest (photo), where Bloom owns 33% of the shares, yesterday. The convertible that Bloom used to drive was not on the usual parking space. There are only some Cielos, which belong probably to the secretaries and to the TV stations that had come to find out the latest news on the Bloom case. The impression of quietness persists as we enter the building. Two secretaries answer the phones leisurely. In his office, Bogdan Baltazar, the president of the consulting company, calmly and kindly answers to all the questions: "I couldn’t solve anything this morning. I have continuously answered the phone and given information about my partner", Bogdan Baltazar says. Moreover, Baltazar says that the company in Romania is not connected in any way to the company in Iraq. "I am confident that my company will not be influenced negatively by the incidents in America. Bloom has been arrested for problems that appeared before initiating the company in Iraq", Bogdan Baltazar explained. "I even expected him to contribute more, to bring more clients, but nothing like this that happened", Bogdan Baltazar stated. (By Elena Stan)

"Money laundry in Romania"

American Philip H. Bloom, who was in control of three companies that took care of the Iraq reconstruction, has been accused on Wednesday of bribery, conspiracy, fraud and interstate transport of stolen property, according to New York Times. It is the first time since the start of the Iraqi crisis when an American is accused of giving money to "win" contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq with a total value of 3.5 million US dollars. This is the reconstruction to which the USA tried to attract many companies from different countries on the Globe. With the help of the "moles" and of his collaborators, Bloom bid more than once for one contract using the names of different companies that were controlled by him or didn’t exist. According to New York Times, an Iraqi witness can confirm that Bloom had bribed several officials of the coalition monthly. In addition, the paper talks about one of the conspirators who is cooperating with the accusation and about "other people who know about these illegal payments". The paper adds that there have been transfers from banks in Kuwait, Switzerland, Holland and Romania to banking accounts controlled by the conspirators which Bloom had worked with. (Anca Aldea)

The Justice Department has filed in the first complaint against a company that bribed the Government officials to get reconstruction contracts in Iraq, managing to laundry money using banks in Iraq, Switzerland, Romania and Holland. With the title "The first Complaint of the United States against the Companies in Iraq", Bloomberg press agency stated that Philip H. Bloom is the man involved. He paid directly or arranged the payment of the bribe or for some "facilities" that reached at least 200,000 US dollars monthly. These sums had been filtered with the use of some banks: Credit Bank Iraqvia, National Bank of Kuwait, Hoffman AG Bank in Zurich and Gratibank International N.V. in Ansterdam (By Ana Ilie)

Translated By SORIN BALAN
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