A Bucharest court has ordered the arrest of two self-described celebrities witches, Vanessa and Melissa, on blackmail and extortion charges in a high-profile case involving a TV star and, reportedly, other public figures.
The Bucharest Appeals Court ruled Wednesday that Rada Minca (Melissa) and Roxana Lider (Vanessa) should be arrested for 29 days pending trial.
Judges decided they should be investigated while under arrest in order not to influence the witnesses.
The witches, of gypsy origin, are accused of deceit and blackmail as tens of victims filed complaints.
According to Bucharest Police spokesman Christian Ciocan, the two women approached public figures promising to help them overcome work or love difficulties and break curses. He says they initially charged very little, but as their victims became hooked on their services, increased their prices.
Last week, Romanian prosecutors have searched 13 houses in Bucharest and Ilfov County and arrested several women who had allegedly scammed people through fortune telling. The two fortune tellers, Melissa and Vanessa from Bucharest and one from Satu Mare and four of their accomplices have been arrested on allegedly taking EUR 450,000 from Romanian TV star Oana Zavoranu. Three others have submitted complaints against them so far. People who have asked for their supernatural services claim they have paid in cash and in kind: cars and jewelry.
Celebrities’ witches Vanessa (left) and Melissa (right) have been arrested on blackmail and extortion charges
Witches Vanessa and Melissa said they cast spells to dispel black magic and curses allegedly cast by other witches upon those asking for their services.
The alleged scam chain also included four loan sharks who lent money to victims to cover the increasing amounts the fortune tellers demanded. People even pawned their houses and cars to get the loans. According to the Romanian Police, several public notaries were also involved in the shenanigans. Those who wanted out of the scam- some of them Romanian VIPs- were then blackmailed and threatened with more curses if they did so.
According to media reports, a well-known politician, a soccer player, TV stars and others are among the alleged victims.
Melissa and Vanessa, two self-professed witches were detained in Romania on blackmail and extortion charges last week in a high-profile case involving a TV star and reportedly other public figures.
According to police spokesman Christian Ciocan the two witches approached public figures promising to help them overcome work or love difficulties, and help them break curses.
Christian Ciocan said witches Melissa and Vanessa initially charged very little, but then, as their victims became hooked on their services, increased their prices.
Police spokesman cited one case where the victim – who later publicly identified herself as TV star Oana Zavoranu – handed over 450,000 Euros ($630,000) in cash and property in exchange for spells.
Christian Ciocan said the witches practiced voodoo, and sacrificed animals in graveyards and near rivers, claiming this would protect Oana Zavoranu from her mother and in-laws who had put a curse on her.
The witches, however, claim Oana Zavoranu is being vengeful because she asked them to cast a spell on her mother that would kill her, but the mother is still alive.
It was also reported that the ex-wife of businessman Cristi Borcea, one of two owners of Romanian football team Dinamo Bucharest, was cited as a victim, but she has neither confirmed nor denied the case.
Vanessa (left) and Melissa (right) were released last Wednesday, following a court ruling that they should not be detained awaiting trial
Christian Ciocan said if the victims tried to cease payment, the two women would threaten to put a spell on them, or disclose details of their personal lives.
Melissa and Vanessa were released last Wednesday, following a court ruling that they should not be detained awaiting trial.
The decision has been appealed today.
Romania has recently been trying to introduce legislation to limit witchcraft, as Member of Parliament Nicolae Paun, who represents the Roma, or Gypsies, said legislation must be enacted to stop what he called “backward practices”.
Generally, the self-professed witches in Romania are gypsies.