Court rejects Romanian arrest warrant for 'prince' arrested in Malta

A Maltese court has rejected Romania's extradition request for Prince Paul Philip Al Romaniei, citing concerns that his fundamental rights would be breached if he were returned

Paul Philip Al Romaniei, also known as Paul Lambrino (Photo: Romania TV)
Paul Philip Al Romaniei, also known as Paul Lambrino (Photo: Romania TV)

A court has rejected Romania’s extradition request for a disputed member of its royal family, who was recently arrested in Malta on a European Arrest Warrant, ruling that there was a real risk of his fundamental rights being breached if he were to be returned.

75-year-old Prince Paul Philip Al Romaniei, also known as Paul Lambrino, who lives in Italy, had been visiting Malta to attend an international ceremony organised by the Knights of St. John, only to be arrested in the middle of it, in front of international dignitaries, his lawyer Jason Azzopardi told the court. 

Lambrino fled Romania in 2020 after being sentenced to three years and four months in jail by a Romanian court, which had found him and 17 other defendants guilty of having, together with a gang of con-artists, guilty of corruption-related offences, including trading in influence, as well as aiding and abetting a crime, when he attempted to “recover” properties which he claimed ownership of as heir to the Romanian royal family.

The Romanian State argued that Lambrino had no right to the properties, and estimated the damages caused to the State to be in the region of €145 million.

Last November, a French court also refused to extradite him, ruling that he was at risk of political persecution. 

Then-Communist Romania had expelled its royal family in 1947, with all its properties being confiscated by the State. Lambrino’s uncle Michel, the last king of Romania, did not acknowledge him as part of the royal family and died in 2017. He claims that the real motivation behind his prosecution are his attempts to reclaim his royal inheritance, consisting of property, land and classic artworks.

Magistrate Leonard Caruana declared that there was “a real risk” that the prince would suffer a breach of his fundamental rights if he were sent back to Romania and rejected the EAW. Lambrino will remain in custody for the next three days, until the Attorney General decides whether or not to file an appeal.

Lawyers Jason Azzopardi and Jose Herrera assisted Lambrino.