Romania wins EUR 330 mln ICSID arbitration lawsuit filed by owners of bankrupt insurer Astra

Romania-Insider | 17 June 2024

Romania wins EUR 330 mln ICSID arbitration lawsuit filed by owners of bankrupt insurer Astra

by Iulian Ernst

Romania won the litigation case filed by the owner of the bankrupt insurer Astra Asigurari, Dutch-based Nova Group Investments controlled by the Adamescu family, according to a note published by the Romanian Ministry of Finance.

The case was filed by Nova Group Investments in 2016 on the grounds of the bilateral agreement on ensuring fair and equitable treatment to investors signed by Romania and the Netherlands.

The claimant demanded compensation for “the systematic destruction of its investments in Romania by the application of the Government of Romania of extraordinary measures that are against the law.”

The measures include, besides the bankruptcy of Astra insurer, “the criminal conviction on political grounds and inhumane detention of Dan Adamescu, president of the group of companies, as well as the criminal prosecution of his son, Alexander Adamescu,” Nova Group representatives said at that time in a press statement.

Romania was found responsible for none of the accusations filed by Nova Group Investments.

In May 2014, Dan Adamescu (the indirect owner of Astra insurer and among the wealthiest Romanians) was indicted for bribing two judges to get favorable sentences for his companies in insolvency lawsuits. In June 2014, he was arrested, and then a local court placed him under house arrest.

Then, in August 2015, the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) forced his insurance company into bankruptcy. Controls carried out by ASF revealed that Astra Asigurari had a bad financial condition and that the company had used the policyholders’ money to finance other businesses Adamescu owned, including his media business and the Romania Libera newspaper.

Then, in early 2016, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) started prosecuting Dan Adamescu for Astra’s bankruptcy. The prosecutors charged him with mismanaging the company and getting benefits for himself and the group of companies he owned.

Adamescu died in January 2017 while serving a jail sentence of four years and four months for bribing judges. His health condition got worse while he was in jail, according to his family.

The bribery case involving the Adamescu family was returned by judges to DNA in February 2024, after a sentence was postponed 26 times over two years and a half – compared to a maximum statutory term of 60 days, reported.

source: Romania-Insider