Romanian parliamentarian to proceed with 'Boaz Yona' law

Legislation would make it illegal for foreigners to establish a business in Romania without first being subject to a rigorous background check.

September 11, 2007 20:55
2 minute read.
Romanian parliamentarian to proceed with 'Boaz Yona' law

Boaz Yona 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Romanian Parliament member Nati Meir said he will push ahead with his controversial "Boaz Yona legislation," which would make it illegal for foreigners to establish a business in Romania without first being subject to a rigorous background check, despite receiving numerous threats from Romanian businessmen who want him to abandon the bill. "I will not shy away from people who don't want me to do this, but will continue ahead, as I feel that this is the best way to avoid a situation like this again," Meir told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. Under current Romanian law, it is not necessary for foreign businessmen to prove from where their funds are derived because, as Meir's "Reasons Presentation" for his legislation states, "unfortunately, it is supposed that the businessman is truthful." Law number 74204092007, also known as the Boaz Yona Law, however, seeks to change this. The bill, which is set to be presented to the Romanian Parliament for a first reading on Thursday, is the first legislation to be recommended in direct response to the criminal activities of the former Heftsiba CEO. "We present a particular case of a foreign Israeli citizen, who performed an economic activity in Israel. The consequence is that the businessman Boaz Yona injured different persons from Israel with almost €75 million that he reinvested in Romania, in real estate projects … In this case, we deal with the ethic issue of explaining where the money derived from," said the Reasons Presentation. The law is the initiative of Meir, a former Israeli and now a member of the Romanian Parliament, who has worked hard for the law, which in addition to making due diligence a standard procedure for foreign businessmen, also states that should someone open a business with dirty, or stolen, money, the court will have the right to reclaim any property belonging to that company in order to return the stolen money to the rightful owners. Meir, however, has come under threats from businessmen in that country, claiming that proceeding with the legislation would hurt Romania's business sector. Meir claims, however, that the legislation will improve the country's business sector and also protect customers who have been cheated out of funds by placing control into the hands of the court. Yona is alleged to have embezzled money paid by dozens of buyers of apartments built by Heftsiba and depositing it in private accounts owned by himself and others in the company. He then invested this money in a number of projects in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, as well as in other locations across the country, Meir told the Post.

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