By Constantin Radut
The tender for the purchase of the four multifunctional corvettes for the Romanian Military Navy, over 1.5 billion euros, is subject to new public suspicions. Irregularities arise from the fact that the company that controls almost all of Constanta Shipyard, associated with the Naval Group France, is registered in the Marshall Islands, a state newly reintroduced by the European Union on the “blacklist” of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. The situation was reported by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Defense.
According to the on-line publication, psnews.ro, the Romanian Foreign Ministry states that under these conditions it would be impossible to obtain security notices as no information can be gathered about the Constanta Shipyard company. The auction is highly controversial in the context of the recent dismissal of the head of the Department of Defense of the Ministry of Defense, who reported to the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Military Court of Appeals for “reasonable suspicions” regarding the full implementation of the tender for corvettes at the proposal of the competent minister. Last week, the National Board of Appeal Settlement suspended the contract award procedure to check for alleged illegalities at the Fincantieri request of the Italians.
The documents of the Foreign Ministry show that the majority shareholder of Constanta Shipyard is publicly mentioned, Gheorghe Bosînceanu, a Romanian businessman. In official acts, however, a majority shareholder, with 94.8% of shares, is Resource International, registered in the Marshall Islands, and the Bosînceanu family is the administrator. More than 15 years ago, Constanta Shipyard was privatized and sold to Resource International, a registered offshore to the Marshall Islands. Three months ago, Finance Ministers of the European Union updated the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and the Mashall Islands were reintroduced into the “blacklist”. This has now generated the reaction of the Foreign Ministry, which warned the Ministry of Defense that it would be impossible to obtain security notices as the owner of the NAS is based on a tax haven. At the same time, shows psnews.ro, this would even lead to the impossibility of Constanta Shipyard to produce corvettes, as the Naval Group-SNC association is thus disqualified.
The quoted source also talks about the pressures that would have been exerted for a particular candidate to be awarded the over 1.5 billion euros of corvette. At this moment, the Corvette dossier reached the National Anticorruption Directorate, and the head of the Department who notified the Prosecutor’s Office was dismissed. Naval Group (France), Damen (Netherlands) and Fincantieri (Italy) are the three competitors in this auction.
By Constantin Radut