Former PM Victor Ponta has denied being under investigation for erasing the ‘historical’ EUR 600 million debt of Rompetrol via a government decision issued while he was in office. According to Euractiv.ro, Ponta was the subject of a National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) investigation.
On July 6 Euractiv.ro published an article stating that the former PM was under DNA investigation for his role in erasing Rompetrol’s EUR 600 million debt in a case opened in 2015. Prosecutors initiated criminal prosecution in rem for influence peddling and bribe-taking.
DNA prosecutors seized documents connected to the memorandum of understanding with Kazmunaygas, Euractiv.ro said, quoting government sources. The government decision was approved by the Ponta government and published in the Official Gazette in January 2014. At the time the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) had opposed the memorandum.
According to the government sources, the investigation targets the requests of the state-owned oil and gas company of Kazakhstan, which are included in the memorandum.
According to press reports, in May, Kazmunaygas Vice-president Azamat Zhangulov mentioned that prosecutors could investigate the memorandum.
“There is a possibility that they [the prosecutors] could investigate the matter. However, when the memorandum was signed there was a leadership, and now there is another one. The deal was made with the Romanian state, a few ministers were replaced, but there had not been any indication that these agreements were fraudulent. We expressed our intention to pay EUR 200 million, on condition of setting up the investment fund (…) Exchanges of ministers did not help this,” Zhangulov said at the time.
“I asked myself today why the Securitate Propaganda has suddenly gone back to the topic of my being investigated for erasing the Rompetrol debt? Am I that important as to invent things that are obviously completely idiotic – such as we erased a debt although it is clearly written in the law and in the government decision that it is about state-owned shares; or that I was negotiating in Turkey in 2015 after my surgery the memorandum we signed in 2013; or that the Ponta government erased debts that do not exist since 2010 – for which reason the DIICOT [Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism] has prosecuted several former ministers.
No, this time it is not me who is at stake, but the fact that CEFC [Clean Energy Finance Corporation], the largest private company in China with investments of tens of billions around the world) wanted to buy Kazmunaygas (including Rompetrol) and to invest in our poor Romania over 2 billion to make here a regional energy hub!” Ponta wrote on his Facebook page.