The video that showed a Romanian gang selling military guns to terrorist has been proven to be fake. Sky news has paid Romanian individuals 2,000 euros to appear in the video and pretend they are selling military guns. The Sky journalist has even written the dialogue. The video was debunked by police officials, who stated that the guns are in fact legally owned and are hunting guns.
A week ago Sky News has reported that a team of journalists went to Romania to report about military grade weapons being sold to terrorists. The journalist claims that he underwent negotiations for months and then they went to a remote part of the country. They do not mention the area of the country but because he mentions the guns are brought from Ukraine we might assume it would be in the north of Romania. The journalist says the gang wanted to show them how they sell weapons. It is rather questionable, however, why a gang who sells guns secretly would want to be filmed by a national television.
The article states
After months of negotiation with a Romanian gang Sky News was directed to a remote part of the country for a meeting with gang members prepared to show us what they could supply.
There is no subterfuge here. They knew we were a news organisation wanting to illustrate how getting a weapon is relatively easy and they believed we were going to buy them.
The journalist said that the gang knew that a TV crew wanted to buy guns from them. Then they mention the guns that they saw, although none of those guns are shown in the video. In fact, the guns shown are hunting weapons.
Among the weapons on display were high quality, apparently brand new, sniper rifles. One, going for 3,000 Euros (£2,540) was an Austrian military Steyr rifle complete with a top-end sight.
Other weapons included semi-automatic rifles, shot guns, hunting rifles and pistols.
In pride of place was a mint condition AK-47. This weapon they said was their biggest seller at 1,700 Euros (£1,440) and demand from Europe over the past two years had soared. The AK-47 is the terrorists’ weapon of choice.
The police and DIICOT ( The Directorate for Investigating organized crime and terrorism) has started investigating the information showed by Sky News. Several people have been arrested and are currently under investigation, including the Sky reporter. Another Romanian journalist is under investigation. The journalist was told by Sky News reporters that they wanted to do an article about weapon trafficking and how european citizens can protect themselves from trafficking. According to mediafax, Aurelian Szanto, the journalist that helped the Britih reporters stated
“I have been contacted through someone who had contacts at the Sky media group who asked me if I was willing to film a documentary in Romania about the arms trafficking that goes on in Easter Europe. The person told me that it was a documentary about arms trafficking that Sky made in Europe to inform the population. They told me: ‘we want two people who present us some weapons. By presenting those weapons we want to signal how these transactions take place.’ I had a friend who I knew had hunting weapons and I contacted him by phone and asked him if he agreed to make this documentary, which was not free, of course. He was supposed to get paid for acting and presenting the weapons and I was going to get paid for acting as a translator.”
The police have found that the weapons used in the video are legally owned by members of hunting associations, collectors and forestry staff.
The four Romanians, that appear in the video, have declared the police that they were paid 2,000 euros to appear in the video. The police officers have also checked their homes in Bistrita and Targu Mures and have found their hunting weapons that are owned legally. According to sources,the Sky News reporter knew that the men were not traffickers. Moreover, the reporter asked them to wear camouflage clothes and made them learn lines for the video. The journalists also provided the balaclavas and asked the men the wear them during filming.
The reporter has told the police he accepted to meet the Romanians because he trusted them and has refused to meet traffickers from other countries, such as Albania, Serbia and Bosnia because they did not inspire trust. He also said that he does not know where the meeting took place and he can only point out that it was somewhere in the north-west of Romania.
Stuart Ramsay also declared that he has an explanation to the fact that the supposed criminals allowed him to film them. He said that they did not care that they might be identified because the police is not a problem for them. However, if the police is not a problem for them, as Mr Ramsay stated, then why did they cover their faces?
Dan Mihalache, Romania’s ambassador in the UK stated that it is an obvious act of manipulation and this has to be said in the UK press and to be transmitted to the UK official authorities.
The Romanian embassy in the UK also believes the video footage is fake and they stated that they will ask Sky News to rectify the information. The Romanian audiovisual watchdog CNA has also asked a similar institution in the UK to check if the journalists have respected ethical standards when they did the “investigation”.
CCTV image from the hotel, where the British reporters stayed, shows how the reporters met with the so-called traffickers. They are wearing the exact same clothes as in the video, only now their faces are shown. They are seen talking in a relaxed manner.