Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Real estate company sues engineer in U.S. for millions in Romania building case

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - A commercial real estate company has filed a defamation suit against a U.S. engineer, saying his false statements led to the suspension of a 20-story office building project in Romania's capital, an attorney said Monday.

Emanuel Necula, an engineer employed on the Millennium Building Development project until 2005, «used statements he knew to be false» to the media, Romania's parliament and EU officials, said attorney Lanny J. Davis, who is representing Millennium, a U.S.-British company.
Necula did not immediately return a message seeking comment left on his answering machine at his office in New York.

Necula is being sued in a U.S. District Court in New York for Euros 10-20 million (US$14.85-29.7 million) for «malicious defamation,» the sum representing the cost of suspending the project, which was ordered by a Romanian court in July.

A Romanian court temporarily withdrew the building authorization on technical grounds.
After he left Millennium in May 2005, Necula wrote to government and EU officials and lobbied Romanian media, alleging that the building in downtown Bucharest was unsafe, according to letters and articles provided by Davis.

He had wanted to make the building from an all-steel structure, but it was being built from a mixture of steel and concrete, according to the articles and letters.

Millennium officials said they had obtained some 20 permits over several years to ensure that the project went ahead.

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