x close
Click Accept pentru a primi notificări cu cele mai importante știri! Nu, multumesc Accept
Jurnalul.ro Vechiul site Old site English Version The Ceausescus’ Fortune

The Ceausescus’ Fortune

de Vasile Surcel    |    01 Aug 2006   •   00:00
The Ceausescus’ Fortune

How rich the Ceausescu’s really were? They certainly haven’t been poor. Did they have enormous fortunes with their names on them? What did actually happen with the fortunes of the Ceausescu clan after December 1989?

The Accounts’ Diversion

How rich the Ceausescu’s really were? They certainly haven’t been poor. Did they have enormous fortunes with their names on them? What did actually happen with the fortunes of the Ceausescu clan after December 1989?

There has been a lot of talking about the wealth of the Ceausescus before the 1989 Revolution. There has been even more talking after it. Shortly after the famous helicopter runaway from the roof of the Romanian Communist Party headquarters, the reporters of the Romanian Television have assaulted the "palace" in the Primaverii Street and deliriously presented the golden faucets in the house of the former communist President. Together with them and the soldiers sent to take under control the "beasts’ den", there have been a lot of ordinary people that went inside and didn’t mind taking some souvenirs, which, in most of the cases, didn’t have such a symbolic value. However, this is a totally different story. The fortune of the clan has been mentioned in the lawsuit in Targoviste as well as in an entire other chain of lawsuits that are still to end at present, 17 years after the disappearance of the "Odious" and "Lady Grim".


Targoviste, December 25th 1989. Brought in with two helicopters right from Bucharest, the members of the Exceptional Military Court gathered in the festivity room of a military unit to judge Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. This mocking lawsuit has been discussed upon ever since. That was the first time when the fortune of the Ceausescus was brought into discussion. Actually, the entire lawsuit has been a dialogue of the deaf people: Ceausescu refused to admit the Court""s legality, while the members of the Court based their accusation upon arguments such as: "The situation is known, the disastrous situation of the country is known by every honest man in this country, who barely waited for the 22nd of December 1989 to be free". Another argument, as solid as the precedent ones from the juridical point of view, was based on the images offered by the National Television, which scored an enormous rating by broadcasting the "Revolution Live", a rating which the commercial televisions nowadays cannot even dream about. At a certain time, Judge Gica Popa stated: "Defendant, you were talking about equality, about the fact we were all equal, that we should all be rewarded for our work. We saw your daughter’s mansion on TV. She had a golden balance, which she used to weigh the meat brought from abroad. The meat in Romania was no good any more." Now, when the judges free the defendants due to breaking certain procedures, such a plea wouldn’t impress anyone, not even an old lady begging in front of the Court of Law. However, this speech has had an impact at that time.


There has been a moment during that lawsuit in which one could think the Prosecutor and the Judge were speaking about different things. The session Prosecutor, Major Dan Voinea, who should have been the one to know all the details about the accusations against the Ceausescu family, stated: "Let us here the defendant, Nicolae Ceausescu, tell us something about the 400,000 US dollars account…" Judge Gica Popa seemed to be more informed and settled things down: "400 million US dollars, in Switzerland". The Ceausescus denied the fact that them or their kids would have had any money abroad, but the Court members did not step back at all: 400 million US dollars in Switzerland. After some debates, Gica Popa announced his decision: "The Court, in the name of the Law and of the people, sentences the defendants Ceausescu Nicolae and Ceausescu Elena to death by execution and to the total confiscation of their fortune". What was the actual value of the fortune that was to be confiscated? No one knows, because the Military Court did not specify it. The first part of the sentence has been accomplished in the same place, in Targoviste. However, there haven’t been too many talks about the fortune a short period after the lawsuit, and the public opinion didn’t find out too many things about this issue.


Things took a strange turn, which few people observed at that time. After the execution, the National Television broadcasted an official statement regarding the disappearance of the two. The statement reminded the accusations for which the two had been judged and sentenced to death. The first of them was "Genocide - more than 60,000 victims", and the last one was "trying to run away from the country, due to several funds valuing more than one billion US dollars in more foreign banks". Here is how the initially mentioned 400 million US dollars suffered another metamorphosis to reach one billion US dollars, a sum that hadn’t been mentioned during the lawsuit. How did this metamorphosis appear, and why? No one answered these questions ever. After a more attentive look on this statement, one can see this is no more than another diversion displayed by the new power in Bucharest. The people hated the Ceausescus so much that everybody accepted the idea of their running away due to the billion of US dollars. The hidden target of this diversion was to make the people focus on the Ceausecu accounts while the new power "administered" the accounts and the fortunes of RCP, UCY (the Union of the Communist Youth), of the unions, and of the money resulted from the external commercial operations, made under the control and coordination of the Security and of the Party. In the following years, there have been all kinds of commissions that were to identify and recover "the Devil’s Fortune". They never found it.

The only fortune actually retained from Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu is formed by the precious objects they were wearing when they had been executed. As far as Nicolae is concerned, according to an signed statement from the scene, he was wearing: "A Rollex-Oister-perpetual day-date men’s watch (photo), made of white metal, with the bracelet made of the same metal." According to the same document, several precious objects have been taken from Elena: "An yellow-colored necklace, made of a chain and seven cylinders, a bracelet made of yellow metal, with links, having on the inferior side the following inscription: «EC 7.01.1989». She also had 27 barrettes, made of a yellow metal". After the 4th of April 1992, all these personal objects of the Ceausescus have been transferred in the National Bank custody, where they should be at present as well. Few weeks before he died, Vasile Malutan, the pilot of the helicopter that flew off the RCP headquarters roof, said in an interview that the Ceausescus had some checks with them and they had written the names of their children on them, the total sum reaching 3.5 million lei. It seems those checks remained at the palace in the Primaverii Street, where they got lost during the Revolution.

Translated by Sorin Balan