Fugitive Romanian prince captured in Paris

Romania’s Prince Paul was caught in Paris on Monday, 18 months after he was convicted in a fraudulent real estate case, the interior minister said.


Interior Minister Lucian Bode said Paul Philippe was taken into custody in Paris based on an international arrest warrant that Romania issued in Dec. 2020.

He was sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison in a  case of the illegal land restitution, but fled the country before he could start his sentence.

The minister said that the 73-year-old prince was in custody pending extradition procedures. He was carrying a British passport.

Influence peddling

The Brașov Court of Appeal sentenced him to prison after he was convicted of influence peddling and being complicit to abuse of office against the public interest, Mr Bode said.

Businessman Remus Truică, Israelis Benjamin Steinmetz and Tal Silberstein were also sentenced to prison in the same case.

Prosecutors say Prince Paul illegally claimed the restitution of 28.6 hectares of land in northern Bucharest, arguing that the land had belonged to his grandfather, King Carol II, before being nationalized by the communists.

Royal family

Prince Paul made the claim in 2002, although he was not officially recognized as a legitimate member of the Romanian royal family at the time.

After failing to recover the properties, he approached Truica, who was well-connected with political leaders to help him with the restitution, promising Mr. Truica’s group up to 80 per cent of the value of the recovered assets in exchange, according to prosecutors.

Prince Paul received all the claimed properties in 2008. He was questioned about 30,000 hectares of forest land he had claimed.

Rightful heir

Paul, formerly known as Paul-Phillippe Hohenzollern has long claimed that he and not the late former King Michael of Romania and his descendants is the rightful heir to Romania’s royal house and thus also to its assets and property.

Romania’s Supreme Court formally recognized his royal title in 2012, when it accepted that he was King Carol II’s grandson and thus a nephew to King Michael, the former head of the royal family. Soon after, he changed his name to “Paul of Romania.”

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