Romania challenges BCR sale

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian opposition senators are challenging the government’s sale of leading bank BCR to Austria’s Erste Bank in the constitutional court, saying the deal was too costly for the state, officials said yesterday. Romania’s Parliament cleared the sale of 62 percent of BCR to Erste Bank for 3.75 billion euros ($4.8 billion) on Tuesday. Romania will pay up to half of the proceeds to cover potential debts owed by a failing state lender absorbed by BCR in the late 1990s. «The government has failed to protect the citizens,» Gheorghe Funar, senator from the ultra-nationalist Greater Romania Party (PRM), told Reuters by telephone. The PRM and the main opposition Social Democrats (PSD) have also complained of loopholes in a sell-off law approved by Parliament that requires a simple majority instead of a majority of all deputies, not just those present. «The approval process of this deal was not done properly. It has too many glitches,» Funar said. The opposition motion will be discussed by the Constitutional Court on Monday, a court judge told Reuters.