12 EXECUTIVES REMOVEDThe reorganization of the ASF - Camouflage for the execution of Claudia Sava and Florentina Boboc

MIHAI GONGOROI (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
English Section / 11 februarie 2021

The reorganization of the ASF - Camouflage for the execution of Claudia Sava and Florentina Boboc

The removal of the two directors with responsibilities in the supervision of the stock market comes on top of Ciprian Copariu, the former director of the Issuer Department and Răducu Petrescu, the former head of the Legal Department

Last year, BURSA published tens of articles about the complicity of ASF workers in stock market manipulation

Daniel Apostol, spokesperson of the ASF: "We are still in full reorganization process"

Twelve heads heads of department and services have so far lost their well paid jobs from the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF), during the term of Nicu Marcu, in the context of the reorganization of the institution. Some of them have left, some have already received are cushy positions, but that is the time for evaluations, and two of the "iron ladies" of the stock market have been replaced and they have lost their market influence: Florentina Boboc and Claudia Cătălina Sava. According to the BURSA sources, the two have received "the offer" to be rehired as specialists or leave the ASF. Boboc accepted to be a "paper pusher", while Sava is currently on notice.

It can't be a coincidence the fact that this reorganization comes after tens of articles posted by BURSA last year accusing market manipulation by the manager of SIF Banat - Crişana (SIF1) and the complicity of the ASF workers.

The two, Cătălina Sava and Florentina Boboc, join the long list of executives that have been replaced or that have left the Financial Oversight Authority. Out of the 12, two are working in private pensions, three in insurance, and the three are in the stock market, and aside from that, there is also the replacements at the Legal Department, the Human Resources Department (which has already become the Service for the management of human resources) and two internal shifts at the top. First of all Ciprian Copariu, the former head of the Issuers department, Trading Monitoring and Market Abuse and Răducu Petrescu, the former head of the legal department who is also in charge of the Legal Department, becoming the right hand of Cristina Zgonea, the head of the Regulation Department and the former wife of Chamber of Deputies president, Valeriu Zgonea.

Also recently added to the list have been Florentina Boboc, who used to be the head of the Regulation-Authorization Department and Claudia Călălina Sava, former head of the Oversight And Audit Department. Sava is nevertheless the happy owner of a ruling in her favor rendered by the Court of Bucharest whereby she is entitled to receive a bonus for her entire work in the former Romanian Securities Commission (CNVM), of 1,032,228 lei (over 200,000 Euros). It bears mentioning that the ruling rendered in 2020 had allocated to her 3.5 million lei (over 700,000 Euros) less than she had asked for in her lawsuit. The ruling is not final, as the ASF and Sava have both filed an appeal on December 28th.

While Petrescu has handled the legal opinions of the ASF for six years, brought in at the ASF from Allianz Ţiriac by former chairman Mişu Negriţoiu, Copariu, Boboc and Sava have practically been the three heads of the ASF in the oversight of the stock market over the last few years. The three of them have accrued about 60 years of working in regulation among them. Their departures have also come in the context of the reorganization of the ASF started by new chairman Nicu Marcu: essentially, every section has been disbanded, and new general departments have been created for each sector, and they have taken over the sections' roles.

Currently, the General Department of the stock market sector is led by Oana Ştefănoiu, who has previously worked under Sava in the Behavior Regulation Department. Ştefănoiu has also been working in regulation since back in the days of the CNVM, and according to our information she is close to Dan Armeanu, the ASF vice-president for the private pension sector.

"There has been a reorganization of the structure of the ASF so that, currently, in the Financial Investments and Instruments, the General Department is occupied through delegation, temporarily, by Oana Ştefănoiu. There will be competitions for these positions (of general managers). I couldn't tell you when, but I know that this is the route. (...) We are still in a reorganization process. It isn't over", Daniel Apostol, spokesperson of the ASF said.

There is also a number of new departments in the ASF, with a notable one being Integrated Supervision, which also includes a Department for the resolution of insurers and investment firms.

It bears reminding that recently, an internal audit of the ASF has shown that there have been "strange", unexpected errors, both in documents originating from the three sectors overseen by the ASF (insurance, the stock market and private pensions), as well as in the notes issued by the Legal Department. As a result the errors in question were snuck in deliberately to allow the overseen firms targeted by the documents in question to successfully challenge any rulings detrimental to them. The errors would have been a lot more frequent in the stock market district, but "strange" mistakes in documents have appeared in the insurance sector as well.

Besides, the ASF has submitted that kind of complaint by the DIICOT based on some aspects that concern the oversight and audit of the stock market and insurance, as Daniel Apostol told us: "There are some suspicions that have led to, let's say, an activity of verification and analysis thereof. The first complaints that the president of the Authority has filed concerned some aspects in the area of oversight, audit, the stock market. (...) I don't know the content of this complaint to the DIICOT, I understand that it was sent before I arrived here, sometime towards the end of summer, but it probably has to do with the suspicions, that have been made public and with the intention that if there is an illegality, some irregularity committed, then a competent public entity needs to issue a statement in that regard".

Răducu Petrescu, through his position as head of the Legal Department, is one of those who should have acknowledged the acting in concert of the investment funds funded to different degrees by SIF Banat-Crişana (SIF1) and SIF Muntenia (SIF4) which allowed the hostile takeover of another SIF, SIF Oltenia (SIF5), where the funds in question together with the funders of SIF1+SIF4 hold control in the General Shareholder Meeting with a combined stake of about 33%.

Departures in the insurance sector have also come as the issue of the Civil Liability Auto Insurance Policies has reached a climax. The heads of the oversight and audit departments for the insurance market - Mihaela Cojocaru and Florin Golovatic - have worked for years in insurance companies before coming in at the ASF. It also bears mentioning that one of its employees has recently filed a complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Department alleging the ASF protects insurers who refuse to compensate their Civil Automotive policyholders. Thus, even though thousands of petitioners file complaints every year against the abusive behavior of insurers, particularly Euroins and City Insurance, the management of the ASF allegedly refuses to levy sanctions, and sanctions are merely calculated based on the companies' financial ratios, which means the fines are also very low, with everything being more of a PR stunt, the ASF employee said in a complaint submitted on January 11 with the National Anti-Corruption Department (DNA).

The complaint concerns the potential commission of acts of corruption by the leaders of the ASF. Specifically, the ASF leadership is accused of possible abuse of office by unjustifiably failing to take measures to control and sanction some insurers who fail to honor their RCA policies, despite thousands of complaints filed by RCA policyholders.

In the complaint submitted with the DNA, the ASF employee reviews the rising number of complaints filed in the insurance market, describes how complaints are reviewed and alleges that the issues with the behavior of some insurers are "hushed over", and no corrective measures are taken.

Sources: The complaint filed by the ASF with the DIICOT also concerns the situation at SIF Oltenia

Another piece of information which BURSA has obtained, but which has not yet been confirmed by the authorities so far, is that the complaint filed by the ASF with the DIICOT also concerns the situation of hostile takeover from SIF Oltenia.

"I will not comment any relation with another authority, especially one in law enforcement", Apostol further told us two days ago.

It bears reminding that the epic ofNajib el Lakis - Dragoş Bîlteanu towards the end of 2014 began the same way, and in the end the two former heads of SIF Banat-Crişana ended up getting suspended sentences, by admitting their deeds, on charges of market manipulation and embezzlement from their own company (initial charges also included the accusation of setting up an organized crime faction).

Back then the ASF notified the authorities about certain suspicious trades conducted in September 2013 with SIF1 shares, after the prosecutors arrested the two, along with their acolytes Adrian Victor Prodan and Nicolae Mergeani.

This is where we should note that the ASF is not entitled to try offenses such as market abuse, manipulation and others such as organized crime. The ASF is merely an overseer and when applicable, it notifies law enforcement.

In an interview he gave BURSA in January 2021, ASF president Nicu Marcu refused to discuss the hostile takeover of SIF Oltenia arguing that he did not want to disrupt the market.

"You have often asked us for things related to the issues that have interested you, and we have answered you to the extent where we were allowed to, so as not to create disruption in the market. As you know, at the moment, things are as they are in the market and the market is stable, let's leave it at that ...", Marcu said in his interview in January.

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