March 25, 2023

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The JetFly company, suspected of having delivered non-compliant kerosene to the Romanian Army. DIICOT prosecutors are investigating the case

In the midst of a border war, DIICOT prosecutors are investigating a case of fraud and diversion at the Romanian Air Force for the first time.

I suspect that several MIG 21 Lancer aircraft may have failed due to poor quality kerosene supplied by a supplier. The latter rejects the accusations and states that not a single gram of turbo-jet fuel enters the tanks of fighter jets without prior analysis in military laboratories.

The JetFly company, suspected of having delivered non-compliant kerosene to the Romanian Army

The former supplier of kerosene for the fighter planes of the Romanian Air Force, JetFly, is suspected of having supplied the Army with non-compliant kerosene. The fuel, imported from Greece and Turkey, claim DIICOT prosecutors, would not have met the required characteristics, and this would have caused damage to some MIG 21 LanceR aircraft. Prosecutors also support their accusations on test reports or technical-scientific findings. They even say that the supplier would have falsified documents related to the quality of kerosene.

The military combat aircraft, which suffered serious degradation due to the refueling of an unsuitable aviation turbojet fuel, represent goods of strategic interest, the damage of which constituted a threat to the national security and defense capacity of the country, even more so with how well-known is it that, within the North Atlantic Alliance, Romania has assumed the security of NATO’s eastern flank“, says DIICOT.

At least two MIGs, grounded

At least two MIGs would have been stopped on the ground from air police missions and would have arrived for repairs at Aerostar Bacău, a company that claims that non-compliant kerosene was to blame.

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MiG-21 LanceR

So, the DIICOT prosecutors indicted several people involved in these deliveries of kerosene to the military airbases, including the heads of the company, for fraud and acts of diversion. They reject the accusations and state that no kerosene for fighter jets enters any military air base in Romania without a double laboratory check. The first samples are taken from the supplier’s warehouses, and the following from the transport tanks.

Dan Berendel, owner of the kerosene supplier: In that laboratory, during the time this analysis is being performed, it is passed through the hands of dozens of people. I mean there is no doubt. Assuming non-compliance, the Air Force has the right to refuse the cargo“.

During the investigations, the prosecutors also asked for preventive arrest warrants, especially since, they claim, the army would have suffered damages of over six and a half million euros. The judges disagreed, however.

The army became a civil party in this case, on the grounds that some of the kerosene was non-compliant, and thus the agreement was violated, but also because of repeated delays in delivery. Moreover, the framework agreement concluded between the Army and JetFly was terminated before its completion. The judges maintain the insurance seizures on the properties of the suspects to possibly cover the alleged damage suffered by the Romanian military aviation.

DIICOT prosecutors say the investigation is still ongoing

After almost two years of investigations, the DIICOT prosecutors claim that the investigation is still ongoing, that it is far from a possible referral to court and, according to sources close to the investigation, the fate of those accused not only of fraud, but also of diversion, largely depends measure of responses expected from third countries, where investigators from Romania have formulated requests for rogatory commissions.

The owner of the accused company, Dan Berendel, maintains that he is innocent and that he did not cheat the Air Force. He was indicted in another case, along with the former PSD deputy, Sebastian Ghiță. They were tried for 14 years, between 2002 and 2016, until the charges ran out of time.

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