An international arrest warrant has been issued for Paul of Romania, commonly known as “Prince Paul of Romania,” the ziare.com news portal reported. The grandson of King Carol II of Romania was prosecuted four years ago, together with some high-profile Romanian and Israeli businessmen, in a convoluted corruption case. On December 17, the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice announced its final verdict in the so-called “Băneasa Farm Folder,” sentencing Prince Paul to three years and four months in prison. On the evening of December 17, the police went to his Romanian residence to take him into custody, but he was nowhere to be found. According to G4Media.ro, his wife, the American-born Lia told the police that Paul was in Portugal.
As prosecution stated, Paul of Romania; Romanian businessman Remus Truică; Dan Andronic, the owner of the publication Evenimentul Zilei; Israeli billionaire and strategic adviser Benjamin Steinmetz; political consultant Tal Silberstein; businessman Mosghe Agavi and several other people formed an organized criminal network aiming to seize the entire fortune claimed by Paul of Romania.
Back in 2006, Remus Truică and several other Romanian businessmen agreed to help Paul of Romania get ahold of the properties he had claimed. The plan was to have the authorities involved agree to offer money and other benefits in exchange for the properties, the transindex.ro news portal said. According to the prosecutors, the members of the group committed a series of criminal acts, among them influence peddling, money laundering, and several types of bribery. They promptly informed each other about any new development and had meetings to discuss the most appropriate strategic moves to get closer to their goal.
As the Romanian National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) stated, the key figure in the group was Remus Truică. Years ago, he was chief of staff for Prime Minister Adrian Năstase and had considerable influence within all kinds of political, social and even justice circles.
It seems the “Israeli group of Steinmetz ensured the financial backing of the project: Paul of Romania was given about EUR 4 million in exchange for ceding his claim and ensuring media support,” ziare.com wrote.
More precisely, according to the DNA, the group managed to achieve the fraudulent retrocession of two properties: parts of Royal Farm Băneasa (28.6 hectares) and Snagov Forest (47 hectares). Paul had sold these lands to a company controlled by diamond tycoon Steinmetz in 2006. The prosecution argued he had no right to do this, as he was recognized as one of King Carol II of Romania’s legal heirs only in early 2012 by the Romanian Supreme Court of Justice. The damage caused by the group orchestrating the retrocession is estimated at EUR 145 million. Moreover, Paul of Romania ceded his claim to dozens of pieces of real estate: buildings in Bucureşti, Sinaia and even Peleş Castle.
Steinmetz, who is also known to be interested in the open-pit mine being planned in Verespatak (Roşia Montana) was convicted to seven years of prison. Remus Truică was also sentenced to seven years and, according to media reports, has already been apprehended by the police.
Prince Paul (also known as Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern, and Paul Lambrino) was born in Paris in 1948. His father, Carol Lambrino was the elder son of King Carol II of Romania and Zizi Lambrino. The Crown Prince of Romania, the future King Carol II, married Lambrino in 1918. The wedding was annulled after one year, as the marriage was not consented to by the ruling King Ferdinand, the father of the crown prince. Paul claims that he, and not Margareta of Romania, the daughter of King Michael I of Romania, is the rightful head of the royal house of Romania.
Title image: Paul of Romania with his spouse, Lia Georgia Triff