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Romanian Prince Philip Al Romaniei has been remanded in custody in Malta after being arrested through a European Arrest Warrant, issued by the Romanian authorities.

MaltaToday’s court report states that the 75-year-old royal, also known as Paul Lambrino, appeared in court on Monday after being arrested on Sunday, while attending a Knights of St John event.

The warrant requests that he is to be extradited to Romania to serve a prison sentence following his earlier conviction.

Back in December 2020, he was convicted on appeal by the Romanian High Court of Cassation to three years and four months in prison over influence peddling, money laundering and bribery.

Prince Al Romaniei was accused of working with a gang of criminals between 2006 and 2013 to recover properties, including Snagov forest and Baneasa farm, he claimed as heir to the Romanian royal family.

Prosecutors said he had no right to the properties and estimated around €145 million in damages to the state. An additional 18 people were convicted in the same case.

In addition, under Communist rule, Romania had expelled its royal family in 1947 and had all properties confiscated by the state. Michel I, the last king of Romania and the Prince’s uncle, didn’t acknowledge him as part of the family.

In June 2022 the Prince was arrested in France after fleeing the country. Despite so, the Paris Appeals Court refused to extradite him as it would have been a risk of violation of the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Up until his visit to Malta, the Prince told Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo that he resided in Paris and that he did not have an official profession “because he is royalty” and that he worked with a foundation.

‘The arrest warrant was based on the corruption of the justice system of Romania’

Defence lawyer Jason Azzopardi argued in court that the case against the defendant was politically motivated and that the arrest warrant “was based on the corruption of the justice system of Romania.”

Additionally, Dr Azzopardi highlighted that throughout his 30 years of legal practice, he had never encountered a European Arrest Warrant issued “through the vindictiveness of a royal family. The warrant is nonsense, cannot be relied upon and cannot be acted upon.”

Dr Azzopardi further explained that the Prince came to Malta to attend an international ceremony organised by the Knights of St John and had been humiliated by being arrested in the middle of it, in the presence of international dignitaries.

Despite the lawyer’s request for bail through the signing of the bail book – even several times a day if needed – and through a deposit, the court denied it. The reason behind the decision was attributed to the unique nature of the European Arrest Warrant proceedings.

Featured Image:

Romanian Prince Philip Al Romaniei / Flickr

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