Former PM attacks Government's fundraising campaign for Brancusi statue

Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta criticized on his Facebook page the fundraising campaign organized by the current Government led by Dacian Ciolos for Cumintenia Pamantului (Wisdom of the Earth) sculpture by Constantin Brancusi.

The Government aims to raise EUR 6 million by end-September to buy the sculpture. It has agreed to pay a total of EUR 11 million on the artwork, EUR 5 million of which will come from the state budget.

In a Facebook post titled “Cumintenia Pamantului Operation – or how the “technocrats” are making electoral campaign on your money!”, Victor Ponta wrote: “The technocrats said that they would manage the country in a special situation, organize elections, and then leave satisfied. Meanwhile, they changed their mind and are now struggling to hold elections in which they will be elected – just like the FSN (National Salvation Front party e.n.) in 1990.”

Thus, according to Ponta, the fundraising campaign organized for the Brancusi sculpture turned into an “easily masked classical electoral operation.” He also added that, although he supported the idea that the Romanian state should buy Cumintenia Pamantului, he doesn’t support the “populist, electoral, and illegal (and even criminal) approach of the “Technocrat” Government of stealthily and unreasonably paying an additional amount of EUR 6 million.”

The former PM also gave some reasons for which he is saying that. According to his Facebook post, Cumintenia Pamantului was returned to two ladies from France, so-called “heirs”, following an unreasonable and illegal court order. In Ponta’s opinion, the court order was not legal because the file included a proof of the amount the Romanian state had paid to the former owner as compensation for the statue. That is why, Romania won in the first instance. However, the state lost the appeal.

Victor Ponta also said that, after a long process and analysis, the Government he had led received an evaluation according to which the Brancusi sculpture was worth maximum EUR 5 million.

“The price of maximum EUR 5 million is right for two reasons: the artwork’s inadequate level of conservation and, especially, the legal regime which prohibits its removal from the country.”

According to Ponta, Cumintenia Pamantului cannot, legally, be taken out of Romania.

The former PM also says that the current Government is not paying the entire amount of EUR 11 million because somebody told Dacian Ciolos that if he pays more than EUR 5 million, both him and his ministers will be brought in front of the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) and the Justice. Thus, the “so-called fundraising campaign was quickly turned into a campaign aimed at promoting the "technocrats" – look what good things they do, let’s keep them in 2017 as well.”

In the end, Ponta noted that “the money will be paid from the state budget anyway, namely from taxes.”

The Ministry of Culture has raised so far EUR 700,000 of the targeted EUR 6 million, one month before the end of the fundraising campaign. The Government hopes to increase the donations with a national telethon organized by Romania's public television TVR in mid-September.

Romanian DIY retailer donates EUR 127,000 for Brancusi sculpture

Lawyer: Romania’s Government will buy Brancusi sculpture no matter what

Irina Popescu, irina.popescu@romania-insider.com

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Former PM attacks Government's fundraising campaign for Brancusi statue

Former Prime Minister Victor Ponta criticized on his Facebook page the fundraising campaign organized by the current Government led by Dacian Ciolos for Cumintenia Pamantului (Wisdom of the Earth) sculpture by Constantin Brancusi.

The Government aims to raise EUR 6 million by end-September to buy the sculpture. It has agreed to pay a total of EUR 11 million on the artwork, EUR 5 million of which will come from the state budget.

In a Facebook post titled “Cumintenia Pamantului Operation – or how the “technocrats” are making electoral campaign on your money!”, Victor Ponta wrote: “The technocrats said that they would manage the country in a special situation, organize elections, and then leave satisfied. Meanwhile, they changed their mind and are now struggling to hold elections in which they will be elected – just like the FSN (National Salvation Front party e.n.) in 1990.”

Thus, according to Ponta, the fundraising campaign organized for the Brancusi sculpture turned into an “easily masked classical electoral operation.” He also added that, although he supported the idea that the Romanian state should buy Cumintenia Pamantului, he doesn’t support the “populist, electoral, and illegal (and even criminal) approach of the “Technocrat” Government of stealthily and unreasonably paying an additional amount of EUR 6 million.”

The former PM also gave some reasons for which he is saying that. According to his Facebook post, Cumintenia Pamantului was returned to two ladies from France, so-called “heirs”, following an unreasonable and illegal court order. In Ponta’s opinion, the court order was not legal because the file included a proof of the amount the Romanian state had paid to the former owner as compensation for the statue. That is why, Romania won in the first instance. However, the state lost the appeal.

Victor Ponta also said that, after a long process and analysis, the Government he had led received an evaluation according to which the Brancusi sculpture was worth maximum EUR 5 million.

“The price of maximum EUR 5 million is right for two reasons: the artwork’s inadequate level of conservation and, especially, the legal regime which prohibits its removal from the country.”

According to Ponta, Cumintenia Pamantului cannot, legally, be taken out of Romania.

The former PM also says that the current Government is not paying the entire amount of EUR 11 million because somebody told Dacian Ciolos that if he pays more than EUR 5 million, both him and his ministers will be brought in front of the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) and the Justice. Thus, the “so-called fundraising campaign was quickly turned into a campaign aimed at promoting the "technocrats" – look what good things they do, let’s keep them in 2017 as well.”

In the end, Ponta noted that “the money will be paid from the state budget anyway, namely from taxes.”

The Ministry of Culture has raised so far EUR 700,000 of the targeted EUR 6 million, one month before the end of the fundraising campaign. The Government hopes to increase the donations with a national telethon organized by Romania's public television TVR in mid-September.

Romanian DIY retailer donates EUR 127,000 for Brancusi sculpture

Lawyer: Romania’s Government will buy Brancusi sculpture no matter what

Irina Popescu, irina.popescu@romania-insider.com

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