Politicians, arms dealers, tax evaders or celebrities hide their money in the HSBC bank in Switzerland. Having a bank account with HSBC Switzerland doesn’t necessarily mean that its holder is breaking the law. Most often, HSBC employees advised their clients on how to avoid taxes in their country and they were not afraid to tell to the bank employees that they did not declare the accounts in their countries of origin. Almost 200 Romanians or foreign citizens born in Romania have HSBC accounts.
At 73, Elena Enciu is a retired woman who almost went to jail after being convicted in 2004 to four years of prison, suspended, for embezzlement. According to the prosecutors, Elena Enciu appropriated movable and immovable property and money from the accounts of companies she administrated in 1994 – 2000. Elena Enciu opened on December 31st 1996 a bank account with HSBC Switzerland, which she closed on April 5th 2001. A former employee of the Ministry of Finances, she afforded to have luxurious houses and a housekeeper. When interrogated by the investigators, the housekeeper told them in detail how her employer came home with bags of money, which she hid in the washing machine or under the mattress.
From the ministry into the private sector
After leaving the Ministry of Finances, Enciu worked for a long time, in 1994 – 200, for the Krenzia family, being appointed by Heinrich Krenzia administrator of several companies, among which Alka Co, the manufacturer of Alfers wafers. “Krenzia Heinrich is my father who is now, unfortunately, deceased. In the beginning of our commercial activities, my father hired Ms. Enciu Elena as administrator in Alka Co, Globe Henry Prod Corp SRL and After Six SRL, position which she held until early 2000”, declared Amir Krenzia for RCIJ.
The founder of Alka, Israeli national Heinrich Krenzia, had an intimate relation with Elena Enciu, and, as revealed in the indictment, lived with her for a while. This love affair drove Elena Enciu to loan Heinrich Krenzia important amounts of money to allow him to continue his business. The two of them even founded a company, which they also administered.
A proverb says ”A thief cannot steal love, but love can make one steal”. Elena Enciu’s six years of activity with Alka Co, Globe Henry Prod Corp SRL and After Six have been called into question by the management of the companies, who requested the Police to make some investigations for embezzlement. Moreover, Enciu had gotten a 100.000 US dollar loan, which she guaranteed with several buildings belonging to one of the companies she administered and a piece of land. The loan was paid off in two installments by Heinrich Krenzia from his Swiss bank account, according to the indictment.
This is how Elena Enciu got to be investigated and convicted. When determining the sentence, the judges emphasized the fact that Enciu had a high class professional training in finances and that she wouldn’t have made various loans without justifying them in the companies’ accounting records. Moreover, the witnesses heard in the case declared that Elena Enciu had a very low income when she started her work at Krenzia’s companies.
Denial, denial, denial
The former Ministry of Finances employee denied ever having a bank account in Switzerland and owning several companies, one of them together with her daughter, who also works for the Ministry of Finances, transferred from the Payments and Intervention Agency for Agriculture (APIA). ” It is outrageous that my name is included in the list of Romanians to have had a bank account in Switzerland. The explanation is simple: it’s a name coincidence”, Elena Enciu declared to the RCIJ reporters. Subsequently, bothered by the insistence of the reporters, she burst out: “SO what if I had a Swiss bank account; is that a crime? What’s the problem? I’ll sue you if you keep digging about me or my family “. Then, Enciu whined that for almost 20 years she’s been in litigation with the companies she’s worked for, now managed by Amir Krenzia.
He is also the holder of a bank account with HSBC Geneva. ”In our country it’s allowed to hold any number of foreign accounts, and my parents took care of it, opening in my name multiple bank accounts when I was 14. Although your question is rather personal, I’m transparently informing you that I do not and never have held a bank account with HSBC Switzerland”, Amir Krenzia declared for the RCIJ. However, bank documents show that he opened his account on the same day as Elena Enciu, December 31st 1996, and closed it in late August 1997.
In May 2000, Elena Enciu was fired from the positions held in Krenzia’s companies, and in October the Bucharest police was notified by the representatives of the three companies that the woman repeatedly stole money from the companies’ bank accounts, money which she used for own, private purposes, the initial damages exceeding 100.000 dollars. After the amounts were updated, she had to pay five times more. During the criminal investigation, Elena Enciu told the investigators that the lucrative scope of the companies she administrated was supply of: coffee, peanuts, pistachio, and various ingredients for wafers.
A fortune out of thin air
During the trial, she changed her statement several times, either saying that she loaned money to the three companies, or that she didn’t, as she was only mandated by the companies’ sole associate in Panama to act for the effective exercise of the Romanian companies. Elena Enciu claimed that in 1994- 1996 she loaned SC Globe Henry Prod Com SRL, SC Alka Co SRL and SC After Six SRL approximately 1.3 million dollars.
During the trial, the witnesses declared that before being appointed administrator of Henrich Krenzia’s companies, her income was modest, as she had previously worked for the Ministry of Finances, where she didn’t earn a fortune. Form her state clerk salary, it was impossible for Elena Enciu to loan the respective companies with the declared amounts, to buy an apartment, ironically located on Monetăriei Street, for 250.000 dollars, to build an immense villa with a swimming pool in Valea Danului, Argeș County, to erect the foundation of the duplex villa in Voluntari and to maintain all the properties she owned. Elena Enciu says that she is still waiting for the final decision in this case, which has been pending before the Courts for 15 years.
Elena Stan, Adrian Mogoș