Estée Lauder heir Ronald S. Lauder deals a body blow to Romanian film industry
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. The company’s major shareholder, Ronald S. Lauder, the billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder fortune, has escaped investigation.
Lauder has avoided the attention of Romanian authorities despite withdrawing tens of millions of dollars from the company in 2014. This action caused widespread outrage amongst the Romanian public and media.
Lauder, who is said to be worth $3.9 billion and whose parents founded their cosmetics brand in 1946, owns MediaPro and thirty-three other television companies in Europe. According to a photographer and filmmaker named Philip J. Coleman, he is doing everything in his power to curtail the inquiry by Romanian and international authorities.
Between 2009 and 2014, according to investigators, the board of MediaPro was responsible for hiding cash through fictitious invoices. A large proportion of this money was allegedly transferred to the organiser of the scheme. That organiser is suspected to be Mr Lauder.
Despite resigning from the board in March 2014 shortly after the departure of his long-term business partner, Adrian Sârbu, Lauder remains the major shareholder of the company. Sârbu was himself placed under arrest on 3rd February 2015.
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