Media owner Vantu released after a week in prison, investigation continues
Romanian media owner Sorin Ovidiu Vantu will be released from arrest, where he was sent a week ago initially for 29 days, the Appeal Court decided earlier today. Two other individuals who were also arrested, Ovidu Turcan and Alexandru Stoian, will be freed along with Vantu. All three will continue to be investigated for allegedly helping out Nicolae Popa, who has been convicted to jail in the Gelsor – FNI bankruptcy case, but who fled the country to Indonesia, escaping imprisonement.
Vantu is accused of having sent money to Nicolae Popa with the help of Turcan and Stoian. Sorin Ovidiu Vantu and Octavian Turcan, whose release from the 29-day arrest has been recently decided, will not be allowed to hold weapons while investigated, will be required to attend all meetings with the police anytime they will be asked to and are forbidden to leave the country. Turcan and Vantu are not allowed to contact each other or contact Virgil or Nicolae Popa.
Nicolae Popa was convicted to 15 years of prison in 2005 in the Gelsor – FNI bankruptcy case. He currently lives in Indonesia and the Romanian authorities have asked for his extradition. Ioana Maria Vlas, former administrator of SOV Invest, the company which used to manage FNI, was also charged and imprisoned for ten years in the same file. Gelsor was a financial group which used to run transactions with FNI fund units.
FNI (Fondul National de Investitii) was a pyramidal (Ponzi) scheme in the late 1990s. The investment fund went bankrupt in 2000, when thousands of people lost their savings deposited in the fund. FNI is a project started out by Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, who never got convicted in direct connection to this case.
After the FNI bankruptcy, Vantu went on to investing in the Realitatea - Catavencu media group.