Background news from Bucharest Daily News (Jan 30/06)
Rompetrol, a Netherlands-based group which operates a large Romanian refinery … In May, prosecutors briefly detained Patriciu on charges of money laundering and tax evasion, but judges freed the businessman because of lack of evidence. That investigation relates to money received by Rompetrol’s Petromidia refinery from Libya for a debt from the 1980s when the refinery was owned by the state. Prosecutors claimed the state is owed more than US$30 million (24.6 million euros), but Rompetrol claims it implicitly bought the debt when it acquired the company. Patriciu set up Rompetrol in the late 1990s and purchased the massive Petromedia oil refinery on the Black Sea coast in 2000.
In a separate case, Patriciu is charged with manipulation of the stock exchange with Rompetrol shares. Last year, prosecutors interviewed Tariceanu in relation to this case and also ordered the bank accounts of about 60 leading businesspeople, politicians and journalists to be checked.