Dan Costache ("Dinu") Patriciu (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈdinu paˈtrit͡ʃu]; 3 August 1950 – 19 August 2014) was a Romanian billionaire businessman and politician. At the time of his death, Patriciu was the richest man in Romania. His wealth was based on the Rompetrol company (the second largest oil company in Romania), which he took over from the Romanian state and later sold to Kazakhstan's state-owned KazMunayGas.
Patriciu's business activity was marred by legal troubles, being charged with defrauding the state, money laundering and illegally manipulating markets, but died before he could be sentenced. However, he successfully withstood the investigations into allegedly corrupt privatization deals.
A support of right-libertarian politics, Patriciu was a long-time member of the National Liberal Party. During the 2009 Romanian presidential election, Patriciu released a video which President Băsescu appeared to hit a boy; Traian Băsescu sued for libel and won.
Dan Costache Patriciu
3 August 1950
|Died||19 August 2014 (aged 64)|
|Education||Bucharest Institute of Architecture|
|Net worth||$2.7 billion (2007)|
|Children||Ana Patriciu, Maria Patriciu|
Dinu Patriciu graduated the Bucharest Institute of Architecture and worked as an architect. He won several architecture awards and he was involved in building projects in Romania and in the United Arab Emirates.
A founding member of the National Liberal Party in 1990, Patriciu was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies in the Romanian general election, 1990 on the lists for the Timiș County. In 1991, he was named the Minister for Public Works and Territorial Planning.
He was part of the Partidul Liberal '93 (PL '93) which split from PNL. He was re-elected a member of the parliament on the list of Democratic Convention of Romania (of which PL '93 was a member) in Dâmbovița County. Patriciu was the leader of the parliamentary group of PL '93 and Partidul Alianța Civică.
In 1990, he founded the first private company in Romania, "Alpha", having architecture and constructions activities. The following year, Patriciu's company began buying land in a northern district of Bucharest in order to build an apartment complex. A couple of octogenarians initially refused to sell, before reaching an agreement. Short time after this, the old man died and his wife disappeared, police being informed of this disappearance by a business associate of Patriciu. Not long after, the house was demolished and the land was taken over. Accused by the press of involvement in a murder, Patriciu denied any involvement and claimed that her death delayed the project.
In 2007, he bought the Fabian Romania Property Fund, a British real estate investment fund in Romania. As of 2012, his Dinu Patriciu Global Properties company owned real estate (office and commercial buildings) worth an estimated $1 billion in Germany and Romania, as well as 25 residential projects in the United Arab Emirates. He previously, in 2011, liquidated his worth €110 million portofolio of Swedish property, as well as some properties in Paris and Hague.
In 1998, he bought from the Romanian government the oil company Rompetrol. A year later, the company took over the Vega Ploiești oil refinery. In the same year, the headquarters of the company was moved to the Netherlands. In 2000, Rompetrol took over Petros, Romania's only oil well services company at the time, renaming it Rompetrol Well Services. In 2001, Petromidia Năvodari, the largest refinery in Romania was sold to Rompetrol for $50 million.
Patriciu bought the Adevărul newspaper in 2006 and increased the holding's portfolio to include the Click! tabloid, the local edition of Forbes, OK! and Foreign Policy, as well as cultural magazine Dilema Veche, women's magazine Tango and science popularization magazine Știință și Tehnică. In 2012, he sold Adevărul Holding to Cristian Burci.
Patriciu attempted to build a convenience store chain named mic.ro, however it quickly ended in bankruptcy, with over 45 million € debts to banks in addition to large debts to suppliers. According to Coface Romania, the development was done using credit from suppliers and banks, with almost no funding from the investors.
In May 2006, following an interrogation, Dinu Patriciu was arrested for 24 hours, being accused of tax evasion, money laundering and fraud. He was freed at the end of the 24 hours, as the judges refused to extend the warrant requested by the prosecutors. Patriciu accused the prosecutors of "serving a reactionary interest group represented by General Ioan Talpeș and former president Ion Iliescu". The Prosecutors' Body issued a communiqué in which they decried "a gross interference of political parties in the case", arguing that "the fight against corruption must be carried to the end".
The Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) sent the case to court, being accused of seven felonies: embezzlement, money laundering, conspiracy, market manipulation, disclosure of privileged information and initiation or establishment of an organised crime ring. Patriciu was accused of being involved, as CEO of Rompetrol, in a case of embezzlement in 1999-2001. The company misappropriated an amount of $85 million that were owed to the state budget under EPSA agreements.
In 2007, President Traian Băsescu accused the then-Prime Minister Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu of sending him a note in 2005 asking to influence the political investigations of Dinu Patriciu, an ally of Popescu-Tăriceanu. Băsescu said that he did not make the note public earlier because he wanted not to derail the negotiations for the EU admission. The Prime-Minister admitted he sent the note, but claimed he just wanted that the President make sure that investigations were carried out correctly.
Patriciu and the other defendants were acquitted in 2012 during the first trial, in a verdict that was later overturned following an appeal of the prosecutors. The Court of Appeals sentenced in 2014 several of his associates to prison, including PNL Senator Sorin Roșca Stănescu and Alexandru Bucșa, a former vice-president of Rompetrol Netherlands.
While the criminal case against Patriciu was ended due to his death, the civil case continues.
Patriciu died on 19 August 2014, aged 64 at the Royal Free Hospital in London due to a lung infection after spending several days in hospital. He was buried in the Bucharest Bellu cemetery, in a private ceremony.