Dan Matei Agathon, the project initiator and a former tourism minister, told Business Review that investors would recover their money only when Dracula Park is listed on Rasdaq, but this will be possible only after the Justice Ministry announces a final and irrevocable decision in this matter. Agathon cannot estimate a likely outcome of this scenario. “We will see when the trial is over. I knew when this would happen until Monica Macovei (former justice minister) stepped down, but now I don't know anymore.”
Who sucked away the project's lifeblood – the money?
On January 22, 2002, Ina Eliza Dolganiuc, a resident from the Republic of Moldova went to a branch of BCR in Iasi to sign up for the public share offer for the Dracula Park project.
“The project was a big deal at the time and I thought it was a good investment for me,” she recalls.
And on paper the Dracula Park project was grand. It needed a total investment of $32 million, of which $5 million was to come from a public share subscription, and should have included an amusement park, golf court, hippodrome, aqua park, car circuit and carting track.
Ina Dolganiuc wasn't the only one to trust the promises made by Agathon or Adrian Nastase, a former prime minister, who even bought shares to convince the public of his faith in the project. More than 13,000 people subscribed to the public offer made with Dracula Park shares. The sum amassed in the BCR account (2511.31-21735.2/ROL) reached $3.3 million, according to information released by Dracula Park. But after seven years, Ina Dolganiuc has a question: can I get back the money I invested? Where did my money go?
Sorin Marica, president of the Administration Council of Dracula Park SA, which manages the project, told BR.
“We sued the ‘smart guys' who oppose this project [meaning the government], but we took the decision not to make anything about Dracula Park public,” said Sorin Marica.
The initiator of the Dracula Park project, former minister Agathon, said: “All money gathered, after the public subscription which was completely sold out, went into state bonds at the Finance Ministry. Now, after seven years, the investors will recover the money when the company Dracula Park SA is listed on Rasdaq, and this will happen when the trial between Dracula Park SA and the government is over,” said Agathon.
Asked when this was likely to be, Agathon said he did not know when the trial would end, since he no longer had the political clout he once did.
Dracula Park project set to come back from the dead?
After attempts were made to relocate the project to Sighisoara, Agathon made public a study saying that the best location for the park would be Bucharest. Dracula Park SA signed a lease contract with RA-APPS for 460 hectares in Snagov which was evaluated at EUR 400 million.
The current government did not see an opportunity for the venture to proceed, canceled the contract and said it was no longer interested in the project. But despite this, Marica still has plans for the scheme. “We have certain ideas which we want to implement but I canot reveal them right now,” said Marica.
So, the money is somewhere, there is no land, there is no political support and there are thousands of unhappy investors.