Source AP ©

Banking consultant charged with betraying commercial secrets sues Romania

A banking consultant charged with commercial espionage related to privatization deals said Thursday that he had sued Romania at the European Court of Human Rights.

Bulgarian Stamen Stancev said that his rights had not been respected and for this "the Romanian state must pay."

Prosecutors allege that Stancev, a consultant working for Credit Suisse First Boston Europe, led an espionage group that obtained secret commercial documents which they gave to foreign companies taking part in the sale of Romanian state-owned companies.

"All I want is to be treated as a European citizen," said Stancev at a press conference. "If I am found guilty, I will go to prison, if not, let me be free," he said.

Stancev complained that, a year after being charged with espionage, the Romanian justice system still had not decided which court should hear the case. In the meantime, Stancev cannot leave Romania and risks losing the right to live in Monaco if he does not go there to renew his residence permit.

Stancev was arrested on November 29, 2006, together with senior U.S. banker Vadim Benyatov - a managing director in CSFB's London investment banking department. Two Romanians were also arrested: Mihai Dorinel Mucea, former deputy chairman of a state privatization department, and Radu Mihai Donciu, a former adviser to the Minister of Communications.

They were released in January 2007 but were banned from leaving Romania. In August, a court decided that Benyatov was free to travel outside of Romania, pending the investigation.

Other people are also under investigation in the case. Prosecutors have asked Romania's President Traian Basescu to approve their request to investigate the communications minister, Zsolt Nagy, and former Economy Minister Codrut Seres on suspicion of leaking commercial secrets related to privatizations deals. In Romania, prosecutors need the approval of the president to investigate Cabinet ministers.

Seres has in the past told reporters that he is innocent, claiming that the case was politically motivated and was orchestrated by Basescu, who has been in conflict with Seres' Conservative party.

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