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Monday, February 16, 2015

Romanian film studio scandal

Estée Lauder heir deals body blow to Romanian film industry

Bucharest, February 12, 2015 – The Romanian film industry has been thrown into disarray following the arrest of 24 board directors of MediaPro, Romania’s Pinewood studio equivalent, on suspicion of tax evasion and money laundering, while major shareholder and billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder fortune, Ronald S Lauder has escaped investigation.

Lauder has avoided the attention of Romanian authorities despite withdrawing tens of millions of dollars from the company in 2014, causing widespread outrage among the Romanian public and media.

Lauder, who has a $3.9billion fortune and whose parents founded leading comestics brand Estée Lauder, owns MediaPro and 33 other TV companies in Europe, and is reported to be doing everything in his power to curtail the inquiry by Romanian and international authorities.

According to investigators, from 2009 - 2014, the board of MediaPro was responsible for hiding cash through fictitious invoices, a large proportion of which was transferred to the organiser of the scheme, suspected to be Mr. Lauder.

Lauder remains the major shareholder of the company, despite resigning from the board in March 2014, shortly after the departure of his long-term business partner Adrian Sârbu, who was placed under arrest on 3 February 2015.

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