Dinu Patriciu

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Dinu Patriciu
Born Dan Costache Patriciu
(1950-08-03)3 August 1950
Bucharest
Died 19 August 2014(2014-08-19) (aged 64)
London
Education Bucharest Institute of Architecture
Occupation Businessman
Politician
Architect
Net worth $2.7 billion (2007)
Political party
PNL
Children Ana Patriciu, Maria Patriciu

Dan Costache ("Dinu") Patriciu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈdinu paˈtrit͡ʃju]; 3 August 1950 – 19 August 2014) was a Romanian billionaire businessman and politician. At the time of his death, Patriciu was the richest man in Romania. His wealth was based on the Rompetrol company (the second largest oil company in Romania), which he took over from the Romanian state and later sold to Kazakhstan's state-owned KazMunayGas.

Patriciu's business activity was marred by legal troubles, being charged with defrauding the state, money laundering and illegally manipulating markets,[1] but died before he could be sentenced. However, he successfully withstood the investigations into allegedly corrupt privatization deals.[2]

A support of right-libertarian politics, Patriciu was a long-time member of the National Liberal Party. During the 2009 Romanian presidential election, Patriciu released a video which President Băsescu appeared to hit a boy; Traian Băsescu sued for libel and won.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dinu Patriciu graduated the Bucharest Institute of Architecture and worked as an architect. He won several architecture awards and he was involved in building projects in Romania and in the United Arab Emirates.

Political activity[edit]

A founding member of the National Liberal Party in 1990,[3] Patriciu was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies in the Romanian general election, 1990 on the lists for the Timiș County.[4] In 1991, he was named the Minister for Public Works and Territorial Planning.[5]

He was part of the Partidul Liberal '93 (PL '93) which split from PNL. He was re-elected a member of the parliament on the list of Democratic Convention of Romania (of which PL '93 was a member) in Dâmbovița County.[6] Patriciu was the leader of the parliamentary group of PL '93 and Partidul Alianța Civică.[6]

Patriciu was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of Bucharest in the Romanian local election, 1996.[3]

In 2000, he was elected on the lists of PNL for the Prahova County.[7] He resigned on 18 June 2003 due to incompatibility between public office and his private business interests.[3]

Business activity[edit]

Real estate[edit]

In 1990, he founded the first private company in Romania, "Alpha", having architecture and constructions activities.[8] The following year, Patriciu's company began buying land in a northern district of Bucharest in order to build an apartment complex. A couple of octogenarians initially refused to sell, before reaching an agreement. Short time after this, the old man died and his wife disappeared, police being informed of this disappearance by a business associate of Patriciu.[9] Not long after, the house was demolished and the land was taken over. Accused by the press of involvement in a murder, Patriciu denied any involvement and claimed that her death delayed the project.[9]

In 2007, he bought the Fabian Romania Property Fund, a British real estate investment fund in Romania.[8] As of 2012, his Dinu Patriciu Global Properties company owned real estate (office and commerial buildings) worth an estimated $1 billion in Germany and Romania,[8] as well as 25 residential projects in the United Arab Emirates.[5] He previously, in 2011, liquidated his worth €110 million portofolio of Swedish property, as well as some properties in Paris and Hague.[8]

Rompetrol[edit]

Main article: Rompetrol

In 1998, he bought from the Romanian government the oil company Rompetrol.[5] A year later, the company took over the Vega Ploiești oil refinery.[8] In the same year, the headquarters of the company was moved to the Netherlands.[8] In 2000, Rompetrol took over Petros, Romania's only oil well services company at the time, renaming it Rompetrol Well Services.[8] In 2001, Petromidia Năvodari, the largest refinery in Romania was sold to Rompetrol[8] for $50 million.

The 570 million € debt of Rompetrol to the Romanian state was converted in 2003 into bonds by the Adrian Năstase Government. In 2014, the Victor Ponta government erased the debt.[5]

Dinu Patriciu sold 75% of the shares of Rompetrol to Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas for $2.7 billion in 2007, becoming the richest Romanian.[8]

Other companies[edit]

Patriciu bought the Adevărul newspaper in 2006[10] and increased the holding's portfolio to include the Click! tabloid, the local edition of Forbes, OK! and Foreign Policy, as well as cultural magazine Dilema Veche, women's magazine Tango and science popularization magazine Știință și Tehnică.[8] In 2012, he sold Adevărul Holding to Cristian Burci.[8]

Together with former Georgian prime-minister Lado Gurgenidze, Patriciu bought the Liberty Bank (formerly "People's Bank").[8]

Patriciu attempted to build a convenience store chain named mic.ro, however it quickly ended in bankruptcy, with over 45 million € debts to banks in addition to large debts to suppliers.[11] According to Coface Romania, the development was done using credit from suppliers and banks, with almost no funding from the investors.[11]

Criminal investigation[edit]

In May 2006, following an interrogation, Dinu Patriciu was arrested for 24 hours, being accused of tax evasion, money laundering and fraud.[12] He was freed at the end of the 24 hours, as the judges refused to extend the warrant requested by the prosecutors.[12] Patriciu accused the prosecutors of "serving a reactionary interest group represented by General Ioan Talpeș and former president Ion Iliescu".[12] The Prosecutors' Body issued a communiqué in which they decried "a gross interference of political parties in the case", arguing that "the fight against corruption must be carried to the end".[12]

The Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) sent the case to court, being accused of seven felonies: embezzlement, money laundering, conspiracy, market manipulation, disclosure of privileged information and initiation or establishment of an organised crime ring.[13] Patriciu was accused of being involved, as CEO of Rompetrol, in a case of embezzlement in 1999-2001. The company misappropriated an amount of $85 million that were owed to the state budget under EPSA agreements.[13]

In 2007, President Traian Băsescu accused the then-Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu of sending him a note in 2005 asking to influence the political investigations of Dinu Patriciu, an ally of Popescu-Tăriceanu.[14] Băsescu said that he did not make the note public earlier because he wanted not to derail the negotiations for the EU admission.[14] The Prime-Minister admitted he sent the note, but claimed he just wanted that the President make sure that investigations were carried out correctly.[14]

Patriciu and the other defendants were acquitted in 2012 during the first trial, in a verdict that was later overturned following an appeal of the prosecutors.[13] The Court of Appeals sentenced in 2014 several of his associates to prison, including PNL Senator Sorin Roșca Stănescu and Alexandru Bucșa, a former vice-president of Rompetrol Netherlands.[13]

While the criminal case against Patriciu was ended due to his death, the civil case continues.[13]

Illness and death[edit]

Patriciu was diagnosed with cirrhosis and he undergone a liver transplant in Milan in 2012. He was later diagnosed with lymphoma.[15]

Patriciu died on 19 August 2014, aged 64 at the Royal Free Hospital[3] in London due to a lung infection after spending several days in hospital.[16] He was buried in the Bucharest Bellu cemetery, in a private ceremony.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Dinu Patriciu: Businessman and enemy of the Romanian president after entering politics". The Independent. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Political Crisis: Corrupt Cliques Vie for Power in Romania". Der Spiegel. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d "DINU PATRICIU A MURIT. Omul de afaceri avea 64 de ani". Mediafax. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Dinu PATRICIU: Sinteza activitatii parlamentare în legislatura 1990-1992". Chamber of Deputies. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Dinu Patriciu a murit. Cine a fost omul de afaceri şi cum a intrat în politică". Adevărul. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Dinu PATRICIU: Sinteza activitatii parlamentare în legislatura 1992-1996". Chamber of Deputies. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Dinu PATRICIU: Sinteza activitatii parlamentare în legislatura 2000-2004". Chamber of Deputies. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "DINU PATRICIU. Afacerile care l-au adus în topul miliardarilor lumii". Digi24. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "DEZVĂLUIRI EVZ. LUCRURI MISTERIOASE din viața lui Dinu Patriciu. Acuzația de CRIMĂ care a planat asupra MOGULULUI, în 1992". Evenimentul Zilei. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Dinu Patriciu a murit. Cum a eşuat Patriciu în afacerea lui de suflet. "Mulţi l-au căpuşat de l-au rupt. Mulţi l-au furat, chiar dintre cei angajaţi de el, personal"". Adevărul. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Dinu Patriciu, de la Mic.ro la mic pur si simplu. O poveste scurta". Adevărul. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Un milion de dolari, costul unei ore de arest a lui Dinu Patriciu". Cotidianul. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "Verdict in Rompetrol case; Senator Rosca Stanescu - two years, four months in prison". Agerpress. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c Razvan Scortea (18 January 2007). "Row threatens Romania coalition". BBC News. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "De ce a murit Dinu Patriciu. "Era slăbit, tras la faţă, nu mai avea pic de masă musculară. Era de nerecunoscut"". Gândul. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  16. ^ "Dinu Patriciu a murit. Familia: "Funeraliile vor avea loc în cerc restrâns"". Digi24. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  17. ^ "Secretul înmormântării lui Dinu Patriciu, păzit de familie. Funeraliile vor avea loc sâmbătă dimineaţa". Adevărul. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015.