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Five more members of gang led by Romanian crime boss jailed over Meath murder
Yesterday at 17:37
Five more members of the gang led by the Romanian crime boss known as The Emperor have been convicted over the murder of a pimp in a horrific machete attack in Ireland.
Romanian Virgil Busa (37) died following a brutal attack at his apartment in Academy Square in Navan, Co Meath on April 10, 2014.
Romanian authorities allege he was killed on the orders of rival Romanian pimp Ioan Anton, known as ‘the Emperor’ who was the leader of an Irish-based organised crime involved in human trafficking, prostitution, protection rackets, blackmail and the theft of ATM machines.
Anton, who lived in Ireland for years and had an address in Balbriggan in north Dublin, was extradited to Romania last year in relation to the killing, and was previously on Europol’s Most Wanted list.
As victim Virgil Busa and the suspects and witnesses were all of Romanian origin, gardai agreed to halt their investigation into the killing to allow Romanian authorities to prosecute the case following discussions between the two jurisdictions.
Nine people were convicted in Romania in 2021 and received sentences varying in length from 30 years down to nine years and 10 months on offences including forming an organised criminal group, aggravated murder, attempted aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and complicity in aggravated robbery.
Romanian news outlets have reported that five more people have been jailed in relation to the killing after a Bucharest court issued prison sentence execution warrants at the end of February.
Nicu Paunescu (41) and Mihai Martinaş (32) were arrested in Tupilati in north east Romania February 21 and have since been jailed in relation to the killing.
Paunescu was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his part in the killing while Martinas was sentenced to nine years.
“The two were sentenced by the Bucharest Court to a sentence of 13 years, in the case of the 41-year-old man, and 9 years, in the case of the 32-year-old man, for committing, on the territory of Ireland, the crime of murder. They were detected in the Tupilati locality, being taken to the Bacău Penitentiary,” Romanian Police said in a press release.
Three other men, who were not named and are from the town of Sacel in the north of the country, were also arrested and jailed at the end of last month, local media reported.
One of the men who is 39 was sentenced to 10 years for murder while two others, both aged 29, were given sentence of five years and three years and four months respectively for the complicity in the murder.
In August 2016, the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) alleged that the main suspect in ordering Busa’s murder was Ioan Anton.
They allege that in or around 2008 and 2009 Ioan set up an organised criminal group in Ireland specialising in human trafficking and prostitution. They allege he recruited a prostitute in 2013 to “tour” Ireland, offering sex for sale in different cities and towns to avoid the attention of gardai.
It is alleged that in February 2014 the prostitute met Busa in Dublin and decided to “leave” Anton and work with his rival, who had his own prostitute network working out of properties in Dublin, Navan, Athlone and Wexford.
DIICOT said that while he was married, Busa “played the role of lover-boy” and told the woman he was in love with her and would help her without taking a cut from her earnings.
She then moved into Busa’s apartment in Dublin but when he placed an ad on an escort website advertising the woman’s services, Anton was alerted that she was working again.
Authorities allege this caused a feud between the two pimps over the control of prostitutes and Anton was also demanding payment from Busa.
The conflict escalated after Busa and three men armed with firearms forced their way into a brothel in Sandyford controlled by Anton in the early hours of April 7, 2014, and robbed €2,000 in takings.
Prosecutors in Romania allege that Anton then decided he wanted Busa dead and set a trap for him by putting people in place to watch him in the same apartment as he was living in.
Anton then summoned his associates to a meeting and provided them with weapons to kill Busa, it is alleged.
The gang then entered the apartment with crowbars and knives and attacked Busa and another person. Busa jumped from his balcony but was caught by the attackers who assaulted him until he became unconscious. He died in hospital days later.
Anton was arrested by gardai on a European Arrest Warrant in Dublin in 2020. The High Court also agreed to extradite another Romanian man, Petronel Pal, of Briarwood Lawn in Mulhuddart, Dublin, in relation to the Busa death.
Pal, who is married to Anton’s niece, appealed the decision to the Supreme Court but they ruled against the appeal last year clearing the way for him to be extradited