Romania's 'Worst Ever' Scandal Revealed in New Book

Nov 12, 2009, 17:36 ET from American Committee Against Corruption

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Basescu: The Shame of Romania is the title of a new book that charts the course of the Romanian merchant and oceanic fishing fleets as they sailed across a sea of corruption, disappearing into their own Bermuda Triangle. It has been called "The greatest corruption case in the history of Romania."

This thoroughly researched and documented report covers the information waterfront, from extensive media reports to parliamentary investigation to court proceedings. It's a tale of nearly 40 years of corruption, deceit, political and economic nepotism and old-fashioned fraud.

In his rise from ordinary seaman to ship's captain in the Communist system, with a possible detour through the feared Securitate, to mayor of Bucharest, transport minister and ultimately national president, "Traian Basescu has displayed an almost contemptuous disregard for the rule of law and an ongoing propensity for abuse of power," says Jonathan Harper, author of the expose.

Harper is the pen name of a longtime observer of the Romanian scene whose identity had to be concealed to protect his sources and his own security. His book is packed with revelations and questions about the record and performance of the deck hand who became president.

The book addresses some critical questions:

Who was responsible for Romania swapping its merchant marine and fishing fleets for a pile of foreign debts? Where are the ships today? How did some of the best wind up in the hands of some leading Romanian politicians? Who profited? How much was Traian Basescu paid as a director of the Norwegian venture? What about reports of Basescu's ties to the dreaded Securitate? What role did the President's brother, Mircea Basescu, play in the disappearance of five shiploads of explosives and ammunition that may have wound up going to the Angolan rebel group UNITA and other militants? Was there a link between some involved in that case and the terrorist groups Hamas and Hizbullah?

Is Traian Basescu a throwback to the corrupt and autocratic old Romania?

Throughout his career, questions have been raised about Basescu's links to the Securitate, the security services of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and what role that may have played in his meteoric rise from lowly seaman to one of its youngest ship's captains ever to Transport Minister and finally President. And all along the way, there have been charges that the Basescu family and friends have financially profited from various enterprises, public and private, as a result. Members of Parliament and others have said the Basescu Government "serves the interests of special interest groups," publicly telling prosecutors which cases he wants pursued, intimidating and insulting the Constitutional Court, approving illegal wiretaps, and other instances of "abuse of power against the public interest," according to the newspaper Gardianul.

For further information and copy of Basescu: The Shame of Romania, Contact: or go to

SOURCE American Committee Against Corruption