Romanian economy minister resigns over corruption allegations

By bne IntelliNews October 8, 2013

Romanian economy minister Varujan Vosganian resigned from his post on Monday, Oct 7, after the state prosecutors started probes against him and a former economy minister [Adriean Videanu] for alleged illegal preferential natural gas sales to private group Interagro, Ziarul Financiar daily reported. The two have reportedly helped Interagro buy cheap natural gas from state-owned Romgaz.

The step taken by Vosganian [member of the junior ruling party PNL] has, however, no impact on the immunity provided by his position of MP. The MPs have previously rejected the prosecutors’ demand for starting criminal investigations on Vosganian. Prosecutors want to charge Vosganian and the other former minister, Videanu, of having undermined the national economy by helping private group Interagro.

The prosecutors have calculated that as a result state-owned gas company Romgaz incurred a EUR 13mn loss.

The preferential sales were carried out in 2006-2010 under six government decisions promoted by the economy ministry, the prosecutors say. Under the government decisions, state-owned gas producer Romgaz has allegedly supplied gas at a discount to private group Interagro. At the same time, Interagro has delayed paying its bills to Romgaz. In addition, Romgaz has sold domestic [cheap] natural gas illegally* [most likely above the amount to which it was entitled to] to Interagro.

* by law, domestic gas consumers were supposed, during the period of reference, to observe a certain mixed basket of imported [expensive] and domestic [cheap] natural gas.

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