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Former president of Properties Restitution Agency suspected of fraud

The National Integrity Agency (ANI) asked the Bucharest Tribunal to seize 150,000 euros from the accounts of former president of the National Agency for the Restitution of Properties, Nicoleta Dumitrean, local press informs today (Fri).† ANI is a government body set up in 2007 to control the legality of the fortunes of dignitaries in Romania.

Dumitrean stepped down in October 2011, after Remus Baciu the deputy president of the Properties Restitution Agency has been arrested on suspicion of influence peddling. Baciu is investigated for receiving some 100,000 Euros as bribe in order to solve favourably the restitution request made by several former owners whose properties have been nationalised by the communists.

Mid-March, the government had decided to suspend the payments made by the Agency on suspicion of fraud for the next six months and had notified the Prosecutorís Office as well.

Romania has solved only about 11 per cent of all restitution claims, whilst many properties have been illegally given back to people who forged the ownership documents or the inheritance papers. A recent audit revealed that illegal payments worth hundreds of millions of Euros have been made to fake owners in the past years while the files of real owners dispossessed by the Communists have been abandoned in the archives of the Property Restitution Agency. The audit revealed that 80 per cent of the payments representing financial compensation, the so-called owners did not have the inheritance documents and that there were over 21,000 files still unsolved.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that Romania has to solve the restitution of properties until 15 July 2012. Currently, the government put up for debate a draft law according to which the restitutions in kind will be stopped and the compensations will be limited to 15 percent of the value of the properties. The payments would be spanned on 10 to 12 years. The draft law stirred heated debates, with former owners and Catholic Bishops accusing the government of trying to re-nationalise their properties. The compensations Romania has to pay to the Catholic Church are estimated to some 8 billion Euros, half of the total amount of compensations.

Tag cloud Catholic  inheritance  fraud  compensation  suspicion  Euros  communists  president  Properties  Restitution  audit  Agency  owners  Romania  solved  Baciu  debate  payments  nationalised  government

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