RUMORS THAT ARE OFFICIALLY DENIEDIs Horia Ciorcilă leaving Banca Transilvania?

ALEXANDRU SÂRBU (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

Is Horia Ciorcilă leaving Banca Transilvania?

Mr. Costel Ceocea, the president of SIF 2 Moldova and member on the Board of Directors of Banca Transilvania, officially deny the persistent rumors that Mr. Horia Ciorcilă, the president of Banca Transilvania, is getting ready to leave the bank and to sell his shares: "I have contacted Mr. Horia Ciorcilă, the president of the Board of Directors. I did that because you have implicitly confirmed that I involuntarily came in possession of a piece of information which, as a member of the Board of Directors of Banca Transilvania I consider as having a potentially negative impact on the stock and the image of BT (of which SIF 2 is a shareholder). This information needs to be treated carefully to avoid having it interpreted as a possible manipulation in this context which is very important for the bank - the presentation of the preliminary financial statements, as well as of the bank's strategy for the development and personalization of the services offered to small and medium enterprises. Based on my own research, which also included speaking to other insiders in the bank, I am denying this rumor as a member of its Board of Directors and the legal representative of one of its shareholders", Mr. Ceocea said.

There are talks that Horia Ciorcilă, the president of the Board of Directors of Banca Transilvania (symbol: TLV) is preparing to step down from the position he holds with the lender, as well as renouncing his shareholder status, according to some sources from the banking market.

Next week, a new hearing of the appeal of the prosecutors of the Department for the Investigation of the organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) is scheduled, in the lawsuit in which the businessman is being charged with money laundering.

Horia Ciorcilă was indicted in July 2010, by the prosecutors of DIICOT Cluj, for the manipulation of the stock market, by selling shares of TLV to Bank of Cyprus, based on inside information he had access to, according to the prosecutors. Mr. Ciorcilă was acquitted by the Court of Bucharest as well as by the Court of Appeal.

Also indicted with him were Claudiu Silaghi, founder and former vice-president of the Board of Directors of Banca Transilvania, currently deceased, Christoforou Georgios (General Manager of Bank of Cyprus România) and Isaakidis Anastasios (former Credit Risk Manager of the Cypriot Bank).

Prior to the first hearing of the judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ), new evidence was added to the case, specifically the report which investigates the manner in which Bank of Cyprus came to own 9.7% of the shares of Banca Transilvania, report completed by American consulting firm Alvarez&Marsal (A&M), at the request of the Central Bank of Cyprus, a document which BURSA wrote about exclusively, in spring last year.

The lawyers of Horia Ciorcilă and of the other defendants have requested the granting of a new hearing, so they can review the new evidence, which the High Court of Cassation and Justice granted.

Given this new evidence, there are rumors that the National Bank of Romania is pressuring Horia Ciorcilă into severing his ties to Banca Transilvania.

According to the rumors, the Chairman of the Board of TLV negotiated with a group of Eastern investors the sale of his stake, but the Central Bank has opposed the deal, which is causing him to turn to the five SIFs.

In April last year, Horia Ciorcilă was elected as non-executive administrator of SIF Moldova (SIF 2).

There is no evidence that disproves the rumors.

But they can't be ignored either (it would certainly be difficult to do so).

That is why the official denial of these rumors by Mr. Costel Ceocea is welcome.

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