Real estate investor Elan Schwartzenberg takes over Realitatea Media in Romania

Businessman Elan Schwartzenberg (in picture), who has been investing mostly in real estate businesses in Romania, has taken over 92 percent of Realitatea Media group from Sorin Ovidiu Vintu, according to Realitatea TV. Schwartzenberg plans to hold a press conference on Monday morning to announce more details about the deal. The transaction, whose value was not revealed, was carried through the takeover of Cyprus-based Bluelink Communicazioni, whose main shareholders are Vintu’s children, Ionut and Ioana.

Vintu, currently detained for 29 days on blackmail charges after a clash with the company’s management company Asesoft and its manager Sebastian Ghita, had previously said he was planning to announce a surprise on Monday morning.

Asesoft has a five-year management contract with Realitatea Media, signed in October 2010. The media company’s shareholders met on Thursday in Vienna to analyse the management contract with Asesoft and decide whether to carry on with the contract. According to Ghita, the management contract can only be canceled in court. The shareholders’ decision is yet to be announced.

Elan Schwartzenberg owns Neocity Group real estate company and has a wealth estimated at EUR 50 million, according to Romanian media. He has been married to TV producer Mihaela Radulescu, whom he divorced in 2008.

Sorin Ovidiu Vintu was detained for 24 hours on April 20, being charged with blackmailing Sebastian Ghita. According to Ghita, Vintu has asked him for EUR 150,000. Otherwise, he threatened to cancel the management contract between Asesoft and Realitatea Media.

This is not the first time Vintu is arrested. In fall last year, he spent a week in jail. Vintu, together with two others, are investigated for helping Nicolae Popa, who has been convicted to jail in the Gelsor – FNI bankruptcy case, but who fled the country to Indonesia, escaping imprisonement.

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 Vintu, who never got convicted in direct connection to this case.

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