88822 12/8/2006 17:54 06BUCHAREST1839 Embassy Bucharest CONFIDENTIAL VZCZCXRO0592 PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR DE RUEHBM #1839 3421754 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 081754Z DEC 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5701 INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L BUCHAREST 001839
EUR/NCE FOR AARON JENSEN
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/07/2016 TAGS: PGOV, ECON, KCOR, ENRG, RO SUBJECT: LIBERAL DEPUTY ON PATRICIU SALE OF ROMPETROL SHARES TO GAZPROM, PNL POLITICAL JOCKEYING
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Mark A. Taplin; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) In a 12/8 conversation with Poloff, National Liberal Party (PNL) deputy and youth leader Cristian Adomnitei explained that Rompetrol Chairman and leading PNL figure Dinu Patriciu, was in advanced negotiations to sell a 20 percent stake in Romania's Rompetrol to Russia's Gazprom. Adomnitei characterized it as an attempt to give the Romanian oil company an "anchor" that would enable it to weather the storm generated by the two-year-long corruption investigation into Patriciu and Rompetrol. Adomnitei believed the length of the investigation had damaged the company, something which was not in Romania,s national interests. He disagreed with Patriciu,s solution and acknowledged that offering the stake to a multinational oil company would be more beneficial. While Adomnitei disagreed with recent comments by President Basescu directed against Russia, he said he favored quiet actions to prevent Russian influence from growing in Romania.
2. (C) Adomnitei told Poloff this information, "that was not public knowledge," because he would much rather see Patriciu held accountable for any wrongdoings than have a dragged-out "politicized investigation" drive a major Romanian asset into Russian hands. Adomnitei viewed PNL,s plans to maintain a minority government tacitly supported by the opposition Social Democrats (PSD), as primarily beneficial to people like Patriciu, who would gain up to two years of de facto immunity from prosecution if the Liberals gained control of the Justice and Interior Minister positions. "I'd rather see the PNL step down from power than provide a cover for individuals like Patriciu," he said. That, he insisted, would be the honest way to "let Basescu see if he can save the day" with Stolojan heading a minority government. Otherwise, the Liberals would take the blame for post-accession woes, with the status of a minority government limiting their legislative agenda. He said he had joined PNL when it was out of parliament in 1992-96, and he was not afraid of being a deputy in the opposition.
3. (C) Most Liberals, however, were not persuaded they should lightly move into the opposition, according to Adomnitei. They had suffered, when out of power, "real persecution, unlike Geoana,s Social Democrats," who Adomnitei argued have enjoyed a great deal of freedom and legitimacy under the current government. Adomnitei said that even if the PD were to withdraw its support for the government, Tariceanu would not resign, since the PNL already had made arrangements for PSD backing for a minority government. Adomnitei characterized Tariceanu as a "very weak leader" of the party. He claimed Tariceanu would not have party members, support aside from their reflex response to rally against Basescu,s power plays. He added, however, that Tariceanu was a "good" Prime Minister and had projected a positive public face for Romania in Brussels.
4. (C) Adomnitei added that PNL had not fought back, but preferred to take Basescu,s punches in order to prevent an "explosive atmosphere" in Romanian politics until EU accession. After January 1, he promised that the gloves would come off." Rhetorically, he asked, "Do you think PD is the only one with files?" He insisted that what he characterized as "the complete absence" of PD politicians under the prosecutorial scrutiny was not because they were innocent. TAUBMAN