Romanian media boss Sorin Ovidiu Vantu goes to jail after court rules higher sentence for blackmail

The Bucharest Court of Appeal ruled one year in jail with execution for Romanian businessman Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, who was already taken into Police custody to be sent to jail. The businessman is convicted for having blackmailed the former manager of Realitatea Media, Sebastian Ghita. Vantu will most likely be incarcerated at the Rahova prison.

He said he will serve the sentence, then follow Romanian president Traian Basescu and general prosecutor Codruta Kovesi in court.

A previous court sentenced him to six months in jail but prosecutors insisted on upping his sentence to five years in jail. This is Vantu’s first conviction, but may not be his last as he is being investigated for money laundering and the FNI Ponzi scheme from the late 90s.

According to prosecutors, both Vantu and Cezar told Sebastian Ghita to give them EUR 150,000, threatening to kill him and his family. Moreover, Vantu is accused of demanding a EUR 200,000 monthly ‘protection’ fee from Ghita, who had signed a management contract with Vantu’s TV station Realitatea TV.`

Vantu no longer owns Realitatea TV, having oficially sold it to real estate investor Elan Schwartzenberg in 2011.

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