Romanian News Outlet Targeted in SLAPP Lawsuit

Published: 26 March 2024

teren-golf-sibiuConstruction site of what was meant to be a golf course in Sibiu, Romania. (Photo:

By Zdravko Ljubas

In a bold legal move, Romanian businessman Jorgan Faff has sued, the investigative news outlet and OCCRP member in Romania, claiming that a series of the outlet’s investigation articles regarding a stalled golf course project have damaged his reputation and his finances.

In what appears to be a strategic lawsuit against public participation – a so-called SLAPP – Faff is seeking a staggering 3.4 million euro (US$3.68 million) in compensation from for the purported damages he claims to have suffered.

In his lawsuit filed on Feb 29, Faff claimed that he lost a lucrative aviation contract directly because of’s investigative reporting. Allegedly, his business partner came across the articles, leading to the cancellation of a 3.3 million euro ($3.57 million) deal with Faff’s aviation company. Additionally, he is seeking 100,000 euro ($108,358) in damages, citing the psychological distress caused by the journalistic investigations.

“This is a classic SLAPP case that is meant to stop journalists from tracking public funds and making those responsible accountable for losing the hard-earned money of EU citizens,” according to Attila Biro, co-founder and editor-in-chief.

He underscored’s commitment to serving the public interest by ensuring transparent and accountable use of taxpayers’ money, pledging to safeguard against any potential misuse or fraud. claims to have uncovered that despite substantial investments of 2 million euro ($2.16 million) from both EU funds and the state budget, the proposed golf course in Sibiu County remained a mere blueprint.

The investigation revealed that the recipient of these hefty investments was a company owned by none other than Jurgen Faff.

Despite official assertions that payments were made only after building materials were delivered to the construction site, the outlet’s investigation revealed that a portion of the funds was paid without proof of the corresponding delivery.

Following’s investigation, the Romanian Anti-Corruption Directorate, launched a criminal probe into the allegations. In a separate case, the Romanian government won a lawsuit to recover funds allocated for the golf course construction.

Jurgen Faff appears keen to deflect blame onto journalists, suggesting that shortly before published its investigative reports, he received a mysterious call demanding payment to halt the articles from being published. However, he failed to provide any evidence to confirm the alleged blackmail attempt. strongly refuted the accusation, emphasizing that their only request to Faff was for an explanation regarding the allocation of EU funds into the golf course project he oversaw. He never replied.