BURSA 01.03.2017

MAKE (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
 
mărește imaginea
     Steven Van Groningen confuses me with every one of his actions: "I care. That's why I was in that square", the Dutchman who is the president of Austrian bank Raiffeisen Bank, the chairman of the Council of Foreign Investors (for a long time also president of the Coalition for Romania's development), said after his presence at the protests of Victoria Square against Ordinance 13 was criticized by PSD president Liviu Dragnea. That ordinance had been bashed by Romanian president Klaus Iohannis himself for encouraging corruption, which is why he went out in the street among protesters, and all of the above would be pretty easy to understand, if only Iohannis had not lost, just now, his house in Sibiu following a court order that declares the bad faith he showed in acquiring it, a house which he rented to Raiffeisen Bank România (which as I just said, has the honorable Steven Van Groningen as its chairman) and which paid him several thousand Euros in rent that will remain in his pocket.
     It's bad to know so many things.
     It causes one to churn out long phrases and it sends their mind into overdrive.
     Which is one the bad guy and which one is the good guy?
     Undoubtedly, Dragnea is bad, the Ordinance was crap, but he accused the square of having been filled with corporate drones, and indeed, the Van Groningens were there, wife and children included, and together with Iohannis, the owner of the building that had been rented to Raiffeisen, to protest against corruption, when older rumors were saying that the honorable was getting his bribe money by inflating the rent, robbing the bank and splitting with the difference with the owner.
     When I wrote about that, I said that it was a lie.
     And I am saying that now: it is a lie.
     That bribe of seven million Euros, that the lies were talking about, has to be another lie and I am saying it clearly: it is a lie.
     "We need to have zero tolerance for corruption", said Van Groningen, about six years ago, but back then he wasn't confusing to me, because I didn't know so much and he didn't use to send my mind into overdrive.
     But today, I know more.
     Let me show you.
     In its January issue, dedicated to Romania, the Global Capital magazine, part of the Euromoney Group, wrote: "Romania's Ministry of Public Finance and GlobalCapital organized a high-level gathering of investors and industrialists in Bucharest on October 26, entitled Romania: Delivering Returns in a Challenging Global Economy. It was sponsored by Raiffeisen Bank".
     Let's pretend we don't speak English and we try to translate that text to Romanian to the best of our abilities:
     "România Minister Public Finanțe and GlobalCapital have organized something with investors and industrialists in Bucharest, October 26, called, România, yadda yadda, Global Economy. Sponsored by Raiffeisen Bank".
     Wow!
     I mean, hot damn!
     Remember how last year, everybody - Raiffeisen Bank România led by Steven Van Groningen, Raiffeisen Bank Viena led by Karl Sevelda, The Finance Ministry of Technocrat Anca Dragu and the Global Capital magazine of the Euromoney Group - struggled to deny and/or clarify how Raiffeisen Bank ended up bringing German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to Anca Dragu in Bucharest?
     If you don't remember, then I will help you - I hereby reproduce the press releases and official messages received by the BURSA editorial office, following the article "AFTER THREATENING TO SUE THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GOVERNMENT SENT THE LAW ON THE CONVERSION OF CHF DENOMINATED LOANS TO THE ROMANIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT Raiffeisen Bank was the sponsor of the event attended by Wolfgang Schäuble" (BURSA / 27.10.2016).
     * The clarifications of the Ministry of Public Finances
      "The Ministry of Public Finances has NOT received any financing from Raiffeisen Bank for the event with the topic "Romania: investment opportunities in a global economy filled with challenges". Yesterday's event dedicated to investors was done in partnership with the Euromoney Group which has made available the infrastructure and which has moderated the two talks sessions.
      The Ministry of Public Finances was involved in the sending of the invitations to the speakers and the participants in the event, as well as in the drafting of the presentations and media materials".
     * The clarifications of Raiffeisen Bank
      "Raiffeisen Bank has not sponsored the Ministry of Public Finances (MFP) nor the event «Romania: investment opportunities in a global economy filled with challenges». The event has been organized by the Euromoney Group, with which Raiffeisen Bank International (the parent group in Vienna) has a broader cooperation on an editorial and event organization level for the entire year 2016.
      On the basis of this collaboration, the organizers have decided to place the logo of Raiffeisen Bank on the banner of the event (viewing it as a bonus), and that thing has generated this article".
      Also, the Vienna marketing department of Raiffeisen Bank sent the following explanations: "The event «Romania: investment opportunities in a global economy filled with challenges» has been organized by Global Capital, a specialized magazine, belonging to Euromoney Group. Global Capital will also publish an issue on Romania and the event, in November, and Raiffeisen Bank International, with its headquarters in Vienna, is the only sponsor of the publication, seeking to emphasize its commitment to Central and Eastern Europe, in general, and for Romania in particular.
      Global Capital was grateful for this support and chose to display the Raiffeisen logo in the Bucharest conference as well, without notifying Raiffeisen Bank International or Raiffeisen Bank România.
      Unfortunately, this well-meaning gesture evidently resulted in a misunderstanding in Romania".
     * Clarifications from the GlobalCapital magazine
      Ruth Beddows, Director of GlobalCapital, sent us the following statement:
      "Over the last 29 years, GlobalCapital (the Euromoney newspaper dedicated to the capital market) has organized round tables about certain countries and the capital market.
      You can see a selection here - http://www.globalcapital.com/special-reports-archive/2016
      GlobalCapital hosted a round table yesterday (ed. note: Wednesday), in which Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), headquartered in Vienna was a sponsor. Minister Schäuble did not participate in the round table.
      The round table will be reflected and presented on our website (at the link above) and reported on in the print version, in a few weeks.
      The main reason that RBI has for this commitment is to promote Romania among the international community, as well as promote itself and its ability to sustain business in Central and Eastern Europe in general, and in Romania in particular ".
     The issue of the Global Capital magazine about Romania, promised for November by Raiffeisen Bank, was not published in November, but in January.
     It states that the event which Raiffeisen Bank claims it didn't sponsor, was actually sponsored by ... Raiffeisen.
     To make it even clearer, I can write it differently: Global Capital claims that Raiffeisen Bank has sponsored the event which Raiffeisen Bank says it didn't sponsor.
     The magazine appeared in January, I am publishing this in March: I gave Raiffeisen Bank a month to deny the information published by the Euromoney magazine.
     It didn't deny it.
     It only denied it in BURSA, in November.
     Somebody is lying.
     Is Global Capital lying?
     Maybe.
     But why would it?
     It may have an interest to do so, but I don't see it.
     On the other hand I can see the interest that Raiffeisen Romania led by Steven Van Groningen, Raiffeisen Bank Vienna led by Karl Sevelda, the Ministry of Finance led by technocrat Anca Dragu and eventually even German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble: the Law of giving in payment and the Law for the conversion of loans denominated in Swiss Francs would have in lying.
     Raiffeisen Bank publicly threatened the Romanian State that it would drag it through the international courts, for those laws.
     The National Bank of Romania, in an article published by Daniel Dăianu in BURSA, replied that if the Austrian Austrian bank sued the Romanian state, even if it were to win the lawsuits in the international courts, it would still lose its customers, following the hostility shown to the Romanian public.
     On the other hand, the finance minister in office at the time, Anca Dragu, had the opposite stance to that of Daniel Dăianu - she allegedly said, in a small meeting, that in the event of an international lawsuit on the topic of the two laws, she wouldn't even bother to send lawyers for the representation of the interests of the Romanian State, because the lawsuit would be lost anyway.
     Thus, implicitly, Anca Dragu showed her full willingness to cooperate with Raiffeisen Bank, against the laws promoted in the Parliament.
     The result was that probably, Raiffeisen Bank has reviewed the situation, admitted that Dăianu was right when saying that the bank would lose its customers and that it would be better to offer to Anca Dragu a political and image advantage, meaning that it delivered to her on a platter, in Bucharest, the visit of Wolfgang Schäuble, the most powerful finance minister in Europe, famous for the influence exercised in key-moments of the accidents of the European Union, such as Greece's default.
     Wolfgang Schäuble arrived out of the blue (it bears noting that Global Capital had no idea that Wolfgang Schäuble attended the event that it had organized: "Minister Schauble did not participate in the round table", writes Ruth Beddows, director at GlobalCapital, in the clarifications that she sent us).
     Wolfgang Schäuble didn't know how to explain why he came to Bucharest.
     Wolfgang Schäuble said that he came to Bucharest because the weather was fine.
     The Romanian finance minister refused to give us an explanation on the reasons for Wolfgang Schäuble's visit.
     The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not feel qualified to specify the nature of Wolfgang Schäuble's visit - if it was an official working visit, state visit or private - and directed us to the Ministry of Finance to visit us.
     Et caetera.
     So it's agreed that Wolfgang Schäuble visited Bucharest because the weather was nice outside and that it's our problem to imagine the reason why Wolfgang Schäuble thought the weather was nice.
     On the same occasion, Wolfgang Schäuble also met NBR governor Mugur Isărescu, at an event which nobody else in the media found out about, except for BURSA.
     Following the visit of Wolfgang Schäuble, the complex game around the laws of giving in payment and conversion played at the Constitutional Court, has removed the need for the bringing of a lawsuit against the Romanian State.
     Raiffeisen Bank changed its mind when it comes to suing Romania, changing its tune to harp on about the Austrian contribution to Romania's progress, through the Global Capital issue that was dedicated to us.
     But in January, when that issue came out, everything had already changed, Cioloș was no longer prime-minister, Dragu was no longer minister, and their speeches, published in the magazine, no longer had any validity, because PSD came into power with a clearly defined vision and relatively opposite to the corporate one of the technocrats.
     Obviously, the technocrats' speeches had never had any real importance, they had been a good pretense to bring Schäuble over, and the pretense worked.
     Steven Van Groningen would never have come out for a protest against Dacian Cioloș and Anca Dragu, regardless of how many ordinances they would give.
     In Romanian, we have several words for bribe - "mită" and "șpagă" are Russian, "bacșiș" and "rufșeț" are Turkish - coming from the languages of those who have occupied us.
     We have the German language to thank for "șperț". 
 

 
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English Section
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ANDREEA LAMBRU, THE PRESIDENT OF HIDROELECTRICA:
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     * (Interview with Mr. Dorel Goia, majority shareholder in Teraplast)
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