Romania: Prince Paul to stand trial in real estate fraud

BUCHAREST, Romania – Prosecutors say Romania’s Prince Paul Philippe will stand trial on charges of money laundering, illicitly obtaining assets and buying influence.

The 67-year-old, the grandson of former king Carol II, is currently under house arrest and is accused of illegally acquiring 64 hectares (158 acres) of state-owned land, costing the state 145 million euros ($164 million).

Prosecutors say politically-connected businessman Remus Truica and 21 others used their influence to get the state to restitute land to Paul. In turn, he gave them a share of the value of the real estate. Paul denies wrongdoing.

Romania’s monarchy ended when the communists came to power. Paul’s uncle, King Michael, was forced to abdicate in 1947. He is estranged from Michael.

Land had been confiscated from the royal family by the communist regime.