The recent Sky News scandal has revealed a cheap play of the British journalists. As soon as the video was posted, the entire Romania has become an expert in arms and as if on automatic pilot, each citizen or opinion former launched the message that "those were hunting rifles". Obviously, in the images, the guns may look like hunting rifles, but in reality, traffickers can make changes so that the weapon has a different purpose.
The only truth is that arms trafficking in Romania is not carried out in the mountains, by some individuals wearing masks, but in the capital, with the support of state institutions, by contracts signed by people in suits. The so-called white-collar crime.
On the other hand, it did not even come to the minds of the journalists from Sky News to come up with a script of this scale, in a country with memories of Security Forces, and especially in a country, still dominated by secret services. Statistics show that Romania has the largest number of security officers, reported to the population, and this often makes the citizens wonder if Security continues to exist, but under a different name.
We also see that the Romanian intelligence services are doing everything possible to propose various laws that intend to penetrate the lives of citizens and to obtain private information. Brits have not taken into account this information about Romania, before staging the script. Otherwise, they would have reconsidered it.
Weapons for Colombian terrorists
DIICOT prosecutors only declared that the report conducted by Sky News is staged, but they did not say that Romania does not engage in arms trafficking. Sources in Police Department have said that our country has not escaped this phenomenon, although state institutions avoid talking about it. Police officers, who dare to touch arms trafficking cases, are immediately silenced because often people from secret services are involved in such investigations. The same sources claim that there is no control over those who control arms traffic. We should just trust them.
Sky News did not need to invent a story, because arms traffic has a long history in Romania, staring from Ceausescu, who armed Gaddafi and ending with the present, when two Romanian citizens tried to sell arms to the Colombian guerrillas of RAFC (Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia). RAFC control cocaine trafficking in South America and get more than one billion dollars from this business; money, which then is invested in terrorist acts to hold power in Colombia.
The two Romanians, who wanted to sell arms to Colombian terrorists, Virgil Georgescu, the head of the business, and Catalin Vintila, former general director of the National Administration of State Reserves. Both of them were arrested in December 2014 in Montenegro, together with Massimo Romagnoli, a former member of the Italian Parliament. The two Romanian citizens met in Bucharest with the DEA undercover agents (Drug Enforcement Administration in the US), who communicated to Vintila and Georgescu that they were RAFC intermediates and terrorists wanted weapons to shoot down US helicopters and warplanes, but especially, to shoot American anti-drug agents. Weapons value amounted to 17 million dollars. Romanian citizens have accepted the deal, according to cnn.com.
In court, Virgil Georgescu defended himself and said he was a CIA officer and for more than ten years, he had been an FBI informant in arms trafficking. In 2012, Georgescu called the public line of the CIA and communicated that he had been contacted by a Romanian citizen, who asked for his help with arms trafficking, according to records obtained by CNN. Sources in the Romanian police called this situation extremely dubious. CIA would have never accepted to collaborate with Georgescu and the agents would have suspected that he wanted to infiltrate into the Agency. Secondly, there were suspicions that Georgescu had already been an agent of another intelligence service, Romanian or foreign. Basically, using very important information, Georgescu wanted to enter the Agency. The same sources state that this is a classical method, used by intelligence agents, who want to play both ends. Even today, US prosecutor do not know whom Georgescu informed and what his purpose in this deal was.
Since 2012 until 2014, Georgescu had spent more than $ 7,000 to do business with the Colombians and several times met with undercover DEA agents. Also, Georgescu urged his associates to use encrypted messages.
At this time, Georgescu and Vintila risk life imprisonment, being accused of conspiracy, aimed to murder US soldiers, civilians, and terrorism. Catalin Vintila’s plan was to send weapons from Romania to Africa and from Africa, they were transported by ship to South America. The investigation was coordinated by US officials, but it was attended by DIICOT prosecutors, police officers and Romanian Intelligence Service.
The biggest Romanian arms trafficker remains Simen Herscovici, alias Shimon Naor, born in Romania, but later, lieutenant colonel in the Israeli Navy.
Shimon Naor / Source: luju.ro
In 1999, he was accused in the "weapon pathway" case, indicted for arms trafficking from Romania to African countries. (African destinations are preferred because Romania has agreements for weapon transportation to this continent). A few months after his arrest, Naor was released and fled to Israel, while the investigation continued in his absentia. In 2006, the Bucharest Court sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment, accusing him of the fact that being a partner of a company, together with three other people, he forged several transportation documents, which specified another destination than the actual one, obtaining thus export license for weapons and ammunition to embargoed countries, adevarul.ro communicates.
Shimon Nær was the representative of the Israeli society Orient Energy Agencies in Romania and forged documents to transport weapons to Nigeria and Eritrea. Beside him, the court tried Ion Menciu, general director of the Eagle AirRomanian Carrier and the Moldavian citizen Ion Basuioc, representative of the Cypriot company Loratel Trading and Jeni Măntescu, chief representative of the society Orient Energy in Romania.
In the 1990s, Shimon Naor had contacts with several companies, producing weapons and ammunition in Romania, including Romarm, Ratmil and Army Arsenal. In addition, the trafficker had good relationships with Romanian politicians, who provided him with transport licenses.
For many years, Naor worked legally, delivering weapons worth about 800 million dollars. Problems arose when he wanted to arm Nigeria, a country under embargo. Knowing that international provisions prevent arms trade with Nigeria, Naor changed the documents specifying that the weapons were heading for Yemen. The weapons came from the Autonomous Company of Military Munition in Bucharest (RATMIL), a Romanian company, and in the 90s, Eugen Nicolaescu was its director, who later became Minister of Health.
Having presented the forged documents at RATMIL with shipment to Yemen, Naor decided that the weapons were to be transported by plane, with Ion Menciu’s help, who was the owner of Acvila Air JSC. According to the prosecutors, Ion Menciu rented planes from the Ukrainian company Volare and in transport documents the destination of Yemen was mentioned, but the plane landed in Nigeria. Romanian prosecutors have even managed to obtain documents, attesting that Nigerian authorities had given the permission for overflight and landing to the aircraft with guns, jurnalul.ro communicates.
Shimon Naor was a man of the system, of the Romanian arms trade, of the spheres of influence that controlled everything that moves in Romania. After his arrest, the trafficker said that everything was a staged plot and actually, he was not guilty, but some people wanted him behind the bars. Basically, the Israeli claimed a settling of accounts.
In 2010, Naor was arrested in Paris and extradited to the Romanian authorities to serve his sentence. In late 2015, the Israeli was secretly released from prison and immediately left Romania, however, that information did not appear in the media. Naor served less than 4 years of the 11 years that he had originally been sentenced to.
A surprising case of theft and trafficking of weapons alerted authorities in 2009, when thieves broke in the military unit in Ciorogarla. They stole sixty firearms, according to DIICOT prosecutors. Police immediately organized dozens of filters throughout the country. The Ministry of Defense dismissed fifteen military officers, who did not fulfill their duties, or were involved in the theft, later prison sentences followed. At the end of 2009, police managed to find some of the weapons stolen from the military unit. Investigators found that the weapons were used in drug trafficking by the network members: Eugen Preda, George Laurentiu Dinu, Adrian Mincu, Marius Costea, Alexandru Nicolae Jordan, Doru Tabarca, Marian Scarlat, George Sandu Chirita, Nicolae Daniel Stinghe, Vasile Dan Sandu, Marius Ioan Adrian Mustatea, Stefan Mihai Zugravu, Gigel Gheorghe, Liviu Iordan, Lucian Adrian Preda, Ioan Vranceanu, Alin Viorel Cica. George Laurentiu Dinu was the one who controlled the drug trafficking of that organized crime group. The drugs [heroin] came from Turkey, the PKK terrorist group. Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) controls much of the drug market in Germany, while the Romanian network and took care that the narcotics reach their destination. Weapons, stolen from the military unit, were estimated around ten thousand euros, but the thieves could obtain an amount ten times higher. Some were immediately sold to different clans in Romania. Prosecutors that dealt with the case surmised that some of the weapons had been offered in exchange of kilograms of drugs. But the network led by Eugen Preda - alias Athletes clan - had another objective.
Eugen Preda / Source: Adevarul
Preda's network illegally acquired the machine guns and pistols having the intention to create an army, capable of protecting drugs transportation and their sale in Europe. The criminals understood that weapons gave them an advantage, no matter what country they were in. Preda's network wanted to strengthen their cooperation with PKK terrorists, who were dissatisfied with their services because, Romanian network had caused the loss of over a hundred and twenty kilograms of heroin, estimated at 2.5 million euros.
Organized crime in Romania is poorly armed and case when we see criminals with machine guns or bullet guns are rare. Secondly, Romanian organized crime gets arms from Bulgaria or Moldovans in Bessarabia, less from domestic traffickers.
Arms trafficking is a legitimate business in Romania in a system that has repeatedly shown that corruption sets its goals. Romanian police officers, who over time have tried to combat arms trafficking, gave up in the face Romanian traffickers, as they always met dubious links or hazardous businesses, involving representatives of institutions of the Romanian state. Therefore, arms trafficking business is monitored by the state, but it is profitable only for traffickers, not for Romania. However, Sky News journalists told the truth - Romanian traffickers, or whoever they are, are unscrupulous and sell weapons at the highest bidder. There is no mother, no father in this business, only the aim to get rich, while terrorists threaten our lives, or African children get armed to go to war.