Romanian royal family joins French extradition fight

A French court is expected to rule Wednesday on whether a member of Romania’s disputed former royal family should be repatriated with a prison sentence on a series of property fraud charges.

Paul Philippe al-Romanei, known as Paul of Romania, committed fraud to recover property believed to be his as the successor to Romania’s last former king, Carol II (reigned 1930-40). He was found guilty of collaborating with the division.

Now 75, he is the subject of a European arrest warrant issued in December 2020 after a Romanian court sentenced him to three years and four months in prison for spreading influence and aiding and abetting a crime. ing.

The royal family was among 18 people convicted in the scheme, which is believed to have caused 145 million euros ($159 million) in damages to the Romanian state. Also included were Israeli businessmen Tal Silverstein and Benny Steinmetz.

“I have done nothing illegal or wrong, and I believe that France will save me from this nightmare,” Paul told the appeals court on October 4.

He says he was only targeted because Romania does not recognize him as Carol II’s successor.

– Unrecognized heir –
Paul’s father, Carol Mircea Grigore, was born in Romania in 1920. He was the illegitimate son of King Carol II, who ruled from 1930 until his abdication to his younger brother Michel I in 1940.

The royal family was expelled from Romania by the communists in 1947 and all of its property was confiscated.

Paul’s father was recognized as the son of King Carol II in Portugal and France in 1955 and 1963, but Romania only recognized the relationship in 2012.

Paul himself has British, French and Romanian citizenship, but returned to this country to live in the 1990s.

His uncle Michel, the last king, did not recognize him as a member of the royal family and died in 2017.

Paul now claims that the real reason for his prosecution is that he sought to recover royal property, land and classical art.

– “Serious political concerns” –
His lawyer, Laurent Pasquet-Marinace, told the court that the case “is inseparable from what (Paul) represents to the Romanian state, given its history.”

Mr. Pasquemarinache pointed to Interpol’s March 30 decision to drop the wanted case against Mr. Steinmetz in the same case, citing “serious political concerns.”

“The acts for which[Paul]was convicted are directly related to his claimed status as heir to the throne,” the lawyer added.

The extradition appeals court in Paris has asked Romanian courts for further details three times to assist in its work, most recently in October.

“The deeper we go into this hearing, the more contradictions the authorities reveal,” Pasquemarinache said, urging the court to reject Romania’s request.

He questioned Romania’s conviction against Paul and whether his client’s rights would be respected if he was extradited to Romania.

Paul is also suing to recover paintings taken from Romania by his uncle Michel I in 1947, including two works by Renaissance master El Greco. .


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *