Romanian prince becomes wanted person to serve jail sentence in corruption case
Paul-Phillipe al Romaniei, also known as Prince Paul of Romania, the grandson of King Carol II of Romania, has become a wanted person as the Police are trying to get him to jail, where he has to serve a 40-month sentence in a corruption case.
Romania’s High Court (ICCJ) on December 17 announced the final sentences in the "Royal Farm" corruption case, including a final 40-month sentence for Prince Paul. On Thursday evening, the Police went to his residence in Romania to take him into custody, but couldn’t find him. His wife, Lia, reportedly told the police that he was in Portugal, according to G4Media.ro.
The case in which Prince Paul was convicted is related to the illegal restitution of a large land plot in northern Bucharest (28 hectares), part of the former Royal Farm, and 47 hectares of forest in Snagov, which took place in 2007 and 2008. Prince Paul had already sold the rights for the two land plots to Israeli diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz and his associates in 2006. The prosecutors argued that Prince Paul didn't have the right to claim those assets in the first place as he was officially recognized as a legal heir of King Carol II in early 2012. The damage caused by the group who orchestrated this illegal restitution was estimated at EUR 145 mln.
The High Court also ruled a five-year sentence for Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz, who is believed to be one of the main beneficiaries of this illegal restitution. Steinmetz also stands trial in Switzerland for allegedly having paid USD 10 million in bribes to a wife of Guinea’s late president Lansana Conte for mining contracts in the country.
Romanian businessman Remus Truica, a former cabinet director of prime minister Adrian Nastase, and a key person in the “Royal Farm” deal, got the highest sentence - 7 years. Tal Silberstein, former political consultant of PM Nastase and PM Calin Popescu Tăriceanu, then a consultant of the Liberal Democrat Party and former president Traian Basescu, also got a 5-year sentence. Journalist Dan Andronic received a suspended three-year sentence, and the lawyer Robert Rosu was sentenced to 5 years in prison.
The damage in the case amounts to over EUR 145 million, over EUR 135 mln accounting for the value of the lands of the former Royal Farm located in Baneasa close to Bucharest and almost EUR 10 mln accounting for another plot of land, the Fundu Sacului forest in Snagov also close to Bucharest.
Paul-Phillipe al Romaniei is the son of Carol Lambrino and Hélène Henriette Nagavitzine. His father was the elder son of King Carol II of Romania and Zizi Lambrino. His grandfather King Ferdinand forced the annulment of his parents' marriage in January 1919 in the Supreme Court of Romania and Carol was born outside the 300-day period allowed to permit legitimacy, on January 8, 1920. As a result, neither he nor his son Paul were recognized as members of Romania’s Royal Family. In 1955, a court in Lisbon ruled that Carol Mircea Lambrino was the legitimate son of King Carol II (hence, the older brother of King Michael I), but this decision was not recognized by Romanian courts for many years. Carol Mircea died in January 2006 in London.
After years of lawsuits, in January 2012, Romania's High Court officially recognized Paul as a heir of King Carol II, based on the Lisbon ruling, allowing him to claim part of the Royal Family’s fortune.
In January 2010, Prince Paul and his wife Lia had their first son who they named Carol Ferdinand al Romaniei. Former president Traian Basescu is the boy’s godfather.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea)