05BUCHAREST131 / 2005-01-14 15:59:00
Embassy Bucharest
                C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BUCHAREST 000131 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR INL 
DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/NCE - WILLIAM SILKWORTH 
TREASURY FOR FINCEN 
JUSTICE FOR OIA, AFMLS, NDDS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/14/2014 
TAGS: SNAR, KSEP, EFIN, RO, KFTN 
SUBJECT: ROMANIA: ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AGENCY LACKS 
RESOURCES TO COMBAT FINANCIAL CRIMES 
 
REF: BUCHAREST 2514 
 
Classified By: ECONOMIC SECTION CHIEF JOHN R. RODGERS FOR REASONS 1.4 B 
 AND D 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Romanian authorities have the political will 
to combat illegal currency flows out of the country, but the 
Director of Romania,s National Office for the Prevention and 
Control of Money Laundering (NOPCML) claims his office lacks 
the training and resources to track illicit fund transfers. 
Post intends to implement programs to assist NOPCML in 
carrying out its mission of tracking and reporting financial 
crimes.  END SUMMARY. 
 
Central Bank Supports Efforts 
----------------------------- 
2. (C) With the Government of Romania (GOR) in transition as 
the result of the largely unexpected election in December 
2004 of center-right opposition National Liberal 
Party-Democratic Party (PNL-PD) Alliance candidate Traian 
Basescu as President over Adrian Nastase of the previously 
governing center-left Social Democratic Party (PSD), Post was 
concerned about the possible outflows of funds illegally 
obtained through politically connected transactions, 
including bribes, privatization kickbacks, and corrupt 
practices from Romania.  EconOff, accompanied by a U.S. 
Treasury representative, discussed this topic with Nicolae 
Cinteza, Director of Supervision, National Bank of Romania 
(BNR) and Iulian Dragomir, Secretary of State and President 
of NOPCML. 
 
3. (C) Cinteza understood our main interest to be money from 
cronies of the previous government that might be transferred 
to off shore destinations (Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, 
Cyprus and other locations).  He stated the BNR was eager to 
cooperate and that he, too, would like to see such flows 
halted and those responsible jailed.  However, in his 
opinion, such money has already left the country. 
Nevertheless, he advised he would send out notices to all 
commercial banks advising them to be extra vigilant and 
immediately report any suspicious transactions.  He affirmed 
the excellent working relationship the BNR now has with 
NOPCML since Iulian Dragomir,s appointment as President and 
that the two institutions would work together to address the 
problem. 
 
NOPCML,s Director Admits Agency,s Limitations 
--------------------------------------------- 
4. (C) Following the meeting with Cinteza, EconOff, Treasury, 
and FBI met with Iulian Dragomir, President of NOPCML. 
EconOff stated we appreciated the Office,s past efforts in 
combating financial crimes and money laundering, but were 
concerned that in Romania,s current transitional period 
illicit money may be exiting the country.  We urged he take 
extra measures to report &suspicious transactions8 and 
significant capital outflows. 
 
5. (U) Judge Dragomir, formerly the Vice President of the 
Bucharest Court of Appeal, was appointed President of NOPCML 
in June 2004.  Prior to his appointment, the agency was 
severely criticized by the BNR, banking regulators and the 
industry in general for its inefficiency and extraordinary 
delays in reviewing and reporting suspicious transactions. 
In some cases, investigative leads were reported to 
prosecutors over a year after discovery. 
 
6. (C) Dragomir stated he was committed to fighting financial 
crimes, but provided us with a frank assessment of his 
agency,s limited ability and resources, candidly admitting 
NOPCML lacks the ability to real time track illicit fund 
transfers.  In particular, he cited the following limitations: 
 
- His staff lacks training and know-how.  Almost all of the 
agency,s current 72 staffers were hired by the agency,s 
former President.  Although the salary is relatively good for 
Romania ($600 - $700 per month), he acknowledged the 
professional skills of most of his staff were weak.  Most of 
his employees were graduates of &second tier8 private law 
schools and lack basic analytical skills.  He gave as an 
example that it took one employee four months to conclude a 
file.  He advised he is in the process of &cleaning house,8 
but it will take a long time before the agency acquires the 
talent to perform its mission. 
 
- NOPCML lacks sufficient logistical support.  He noted that 
his archivist doesn,t know how to archive, with the result 
the office has to rely almost exclusively on hard copy.  He 
also informed that some files have simply &disappeared.8 
His employees lack both knowledge and expertise in working in 
a classified regime.  Also, he bemoaned the fact that the 
agency lacks the equipment and software necessary to perform 
its mission. 
 
- Lack of manpower and training.  The agency has the same 
operational staff as prior to 9/11, despite the agency,s 
expanded mission.  He believes the agency needs double the 
personnel it has at present.  None of this staff has any 
experience or training in combating terrorist financing. 
 
7. (C) Dragomir is attempting to get help from other 
financial intelligence units (FIUs) especially from the 
United Kingdom and U.S. FINCEN.  In November 2004, the 
Department of Justice,s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial 
Assistance and Training sponsored an assessment of NOPCML by 
U.S. FINCEN and a future technical assistance project between 
the two FIUs is planned for 2005.  Dragomir stated he has 
been successful in developing cooperative protocols with 
other GOR agencies concerned with financial crimes, which has 
resulted in increased sharing of information.  NOPCML has a 
twinning agreement with Italy under an EU PHARE program, but 
Dragomir has not been pleased with the assistance the 
Italians have provided.  When the program expires in May, he 
hopes to replace it with one based on U.K. or German models. 
 
8. (C) Comment: Dragomir,s candid assessment is that without 
outside assistance NOPCML cannot adequately perform its 
mission.  While he did not specify in exact detail the skills 
NOPCML requires, it appears training in a full range of 
analytical and investigative skills would be helpful. 
Dragomir is extremely positive regarding NOPCML,s newly 
established relationship with U.S. FINCEN, and desires a 
closer relationship and increased cooperation with the U.S. 
FIU.  Post,s resident Treasury representative has offered to 
assist NOPCML by conducting a training course in January on 
wire transfers and how to detect money laundering.  End 
Comment. 
 
9.  (U) Amembassy Bucharest's reporting telegrams are 
available onthe Bucharest SIPRNet website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/bucharest 
DELARE 

            
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