Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Romania's ex-Prime Minister sues Prime Minister Boc in Black Sea oil row

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's ex-premier Calin Tariceanu is suing Prime Minister Emil Boc for alleged false statements about his cabinet's role in granting Black Sea oil and gas concessions, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Boc and another ruling coalition politician have accused Tariceanu's former cabinet of illegally transforming an exploration contract handed out in 1992 into a concession deal awarded to a British firm without a tender.

"I'm eagerly awaiting winning this trial and seeing how the original contract of exploration transformed into a concession," Boc told reporters.

Tariceanu has repeatedly said he did nothing illegal. On Wednesday he said he was suing the two politicians for a combined 200,000 Romanian leu ($58,000) in damages.

"I've filed a complaint in court," Tariceanu said.

Boc heads the ruling centre-left coalition government that came to power in late 2008, This month he cleared the way for the deal to be investigated for possible irregularities. Controversy over drilling rights granted by post-communist governments in the Black Sea has gathered steam after a Feb. 3 ruling which gave Romania four-fifths of 12,000 sq km (4,600 sq mile) of sea. Its ownership had been disputed by Ukraine.

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