A Romanian court on Friday sentenced a media mogul to 10 years in prison for money laundering and fraudulently privatizing an agricultural institute. Six others also got prison sentences for the 2003 sale.
The Bucharest Appeals Court sentenced Dan Voiculescu for using his political influence to buy the Food Research Institute for 100,000 euros ($135,000) — a fraction of its estimated value of 7.7 million euros ($10.3 million). The court also ordered the confiscation of property, television studios and land belonging to his Antena media group to cover damages. In addition, his family was ordered to pay 1.3 million euros ($1.75 million) in restitution.
Dan Voiculescu, a businessman and politician who rose to prominence on the back of his connections with the former communist regime’s dreaded secret police and intelligence services, has been accused in the case of the privatisation of the Institute of Food Research, in which a plot of land in Bucharest was bought for a minuscule price.
Dan Voiculescu has founded the Conservative Party, which is part of the current governing coalition with the Social Democrats (PSD). He has used his media empire – the Intact media group, which includes TV and radio stations, among which Antena 1 and Antena 3 and other media – to attack archrival President Traian Basescu, other political rivals, as well as the judiciary.