Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern, who is also known as Prince Paul of Romania, was arrested and detained for 24 hours in Romania. He is being charged with buying influence, money laundering and complicity to abuse of office in an illegal restitution case.
Paul illegally claimed the restitution of 28.6 hectares of land in Bucharest, among other assets. The land is known is Baneasa Royal Farm and belonged to his grandfather King Carol II of Romania, before it was nationalized by the communists. He first made his claim in 2002, but there hasn’t been much success in recovering the properties. He then enlisted the help of an influential businessman with political connections who he promised up to 80% of the recovered lands’ value in exchange for his help. The farm now belonging to an agriculture research institute and that particular businessman attempted to bribe the institute management into signing the restitution papers. They signed the papers and the Romanian state was thus damaged 136 million euros.
Paul is the son of Carol Lambrino and Hélène Nagavitzine. Carol Lambrino was the eldest son of King Carol II of Romania from his first marriage to Zizi Lambrino. Their marriage was annulled before Carol Lambrino was born, but they continued to live together. Carol was born outside the 300-day period allowed to permit legitimacy. King Carol II later remarried to Helen of Greece and Denmark in 1921 and together they had a son, who became King Michael I of Romania. Despite his father’s illegitimacy Paul claims to be the rightful head of Romania’s royal house on the grounds that King Carol II’s marriage to Zizi Lambrino was never annulled in an Orthodox Church, making his subsequent remarriage to Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark bigamous.
The status of his princely title is disputed and he is apparently completely estranged from King Michael I of Romania though after a 2012 court ruling where Paul was recognized as one of King Carol II’s heirs he was invited for reconciliation talks.
Photo credit:Helen of Greece and Denmark and then Crown Prince Carol n the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.