Artistic licence in Romania

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When Euromoney visited the hulking headquarters of Romania’s finance ministry in Bucharest in December to interview Ioana Petrescu, the then occupant of that prestigious office, we were taken by the portraits in the entrance foyer that honoured those who had served before her.

There were 20 portraits – and that was only since 1989, when Romania threw off communism.

A few days after we saw her, Petrescu herself would become the 21st to be interred in oils, a victim of Romania’s rancid politics. Now, her replacement, the unremarkable ruling party hack Darius Valcov, has become the 22nd. That’s because he’s facing corruption allegations, after investigators found a Renoir, gold bars and a swag of cash in his safe. He maintains his innocence. Valcov was ditched in March, after three months. With the field of candidates clearing narrowing, prime minister Victor Ponta replaced Valcov – with himself.

Euromoney isn’t allowed to make investment recommendations but if we were, there would be worse punts than backing Bucharest’s extremely busy official artist.