Romania's State Attorney has applied for an arrest warrant for Israeli businessmen Beny Steinmetz and Tal Silberstein. No charges are to be brought against another Israeli businessman Shimon Sheves.
Steinmetz whose wealth reportedly amounts to $7.2 billion is accused of setting up an organized crime network, money laundering, bribery and fraud. Silberstein is accused of similar offenses. Another Israeli linked to Steinmetz is also being charged.
The large scale corruption probe also involves a former senior Romanian government official Remus Truica and Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern (Prince Paul), the heir to the Romanian throne. . Truica allegedly headed an extensive real estate fraud operation worth €136 million.
In response to the decision by the state prosecutor in the Romanian district of Brasov to file indictments against the Israelis, Adv. Yuval Sasson said, "This is a procedural stage, during which the Rumanian court examines the cases before transferring it for clarification of the charges. We hope that our clients will be allowed at this stage to state his pleas to the Romanian court. No fault has been found with my clients' business activity. This is not the first time that the Romanian district prosecutor has acted with no factual basis. Only recently, the Romanian Supreme Court rejected the prosecutor's request, which contravenes the rules of local and international law, for an arrest warrant before any investigation took place, and before an indictment was filed.
"My clients' only misdeed was doing business in Romania. All of their business activity was in compliance with the provisions of Romanian and international law, under close supervision by the largest and most respectable law firms there. We are convinced that at the end of the legal process, the Romanian court will reject all the allegations."
Tal Silberstein made the following statement: "Our conduct has been blameless. All our activities were in accordance with the law. This affair is to do with Romania's internal politics, into which we were dragged apparently by virtue of me formerly having been a political adviser in the country. This is part of a 'war on corruption' campaign that got out of control, in which thousands of people who were connected to the previous government and politicians who have not come into line are daily being placed under arrest and restrictions on their movements, like in the terrible past of the rule of the Securitate in the country and in other benighted regimes. The European Union has also commented on the matter in a highly critical report on human rights in the country in the past year.
"There is no connection whatsoever between this indictment and reality and the facts, and anyhow the local prosecutor who is running the case has not even bothered to try to question us or obtain our version of events. Romania's Supreme Court has already dismissed a previous application from the prosecutor, and we believe that it will do the same this time when it has examined the facts."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 19, 2016
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