US criticizes Romania central bank for "anti-Semitic" coin

AP News
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Posted: May 13, 2016 9:29 AM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Romania on Friday criticized the country's central bank for releasing a coin bearing the image of a former bank governor who it said actively promoted anti-Semitism.

The embassy called the bank's decision to honor Mihail Manoilescu, the former governor of the National Bank of Romania, "disappointing." In a statement, it said he was "an active promoter of and contributor to fascist ideology and anti-Semitic sentiment."

Manoilescu was foreign minister in 1940, when Romania was allied with Nazi Germany. A supporter of the fascist Iron Guard, he signed a diktat under which Romania lost large swaths of territory to Hungary.

It said in a statement that the coin was part of a series minted in mid-April honoring former bank governors and noted that Manoilescu had been governor in 1931, a year of economic crisis.

It said that the coins it minted were not intended to offend any community or "send a message with an offensive, xenophobic or discriminatory nature."

It added it was examining the criticism and would establish working procedures to "avoid potential regrettable situations in the future."

Manoilescu died in a Communist prison in 1950.