Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) has indicted French-Lebanese businessman Rami Ghaziri, the owner of the Romanian poultry producer Agroli Group, and nine other defendants, most of them Syrian or Lebanese nationals, on multiple counts of tax evasion, money laundering, and setting up an organized crime group.
The ten defendants have allegedly caused the Romanian state a damage of EUR 25 million, according to the prosecutors.
Rami Ghaziri has been referred to by the local media as “the chicken king” as his group is one of the biggest poultry producers in Romania. The Agroli group controls Avicola Crevedia, Romania’s first poultry farm opened in 1959, Avicola Tartasesti, and a fodder factory.
The DNA has indicted Ghaziri has indicted for creating a criminal group, tax evasion, and money laundering.
The French businessman is currently in prison serving a sentence in another case. He was convicted to three years in prison on June 15, last year, for buying influence from former Romanian prosecutor Angela Nicolae. He was found guilty for paying Nicolae to help him dodge prosecution for tax evasion.
The DNA also indicted Rami Ghaziri in December 2014, for fraud with EU funds.
In the case that was recently sent to court, Ghaziri has been investigated for setting up two organized crime groups together with the other defendants, between July 2010 and August 2012, according to DNA. The defendants used a chain of ghost companies, creating a damage of over RON 107 million (EUR 25 million) to the state budget, according to the prosecutors.
Between September 2010 and October 2012, Rami Ghaziri together with the other defendants submitted 54 requests for VAT reimbursement or compensation based on fictitious transactions. They received EUR 19 million.
In 2012, the defendants Zayed, Alzaid, Moubarak and Chraif signed a contract for selling a plot of 42,000 sqm at an overvalued price for concealing the true origin of the money resulted from tax evasion. They sold the land to a company managed by Rami Ghaziri.
The DNA prosecutors seized the properties belonging to two companies owned by Rami Ghaziri. They also blocked the shares owned by Ghaziri and Kharrat in several companies.
The prosecutors have received specialist support from the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
Diana Mesesan, [email protected]