Monday, May 09, 2011

Timisoara: stuffed to the gills with banks

What is all this about?
I was in Timisoara Romania last week. Timisoara is a city of roughly 320k people on the Western edge of Romania. On the drive in to the city I was struck by the huge number of different banks I kept passing. From one corner of the central square eight different banks were in sight of each other
Romania has little in the way of industry or normal services and so on. So what's with all the banks?
"I did a little poking around and found this rather timely article in the EUobserver reporting on this stud from EUROPOL which is itself the distillation of 70 000 pages of intelligence from different police forces gathered over the last two years. The headline of article and report is that, 'Southeastern Europe is becoming the main gateway for smuggling drugs, guns and people into the EU' . . . Romania and Hungary are a principal focus of drug smuggling."
The author, David Malone, admits he has nothing but innuendo here - but the leads he follows look highly questionable. One was a business which offers:
Corporation formation in: Switzerland, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Thailand, Ireland, Holland, Hungary, Mauritius.
Trust formation in: Switzerland, Holland, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Nova Scotia, Belize, Isle of Man; and Partnerships, Scotland.
Foundation formation in: Switzerland, Curacao, Liechtenstein, Panama;
Hmm, that all looks above-board, now, doesn't it? He makes a comparison with the two curious little (dirt-poor) Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, also transit points for drugs, and also stuffed with banks. Whatever could they be doing there?

Some questions ought to be asked here.


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