Update: Wanted Romanian investor, detained in London
Powerful Romanian investor Gabriel Popoviciu, who was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this month in a fraud and corruption case, was detained in London on Monday, August 14.
The businessman was included on the internationally wanted list after the Bucharest Court of Appeal issued a European arrest warrant on his name.
Officers of the Romanian Police went to his house in Bucharest on August 2, soon after the Court ruled the prison sentence, but they haven’t found him there. Popoviciu is believed to have left the country before the sentence was issued against him, as he had no interdiction in this sense.
Judicial sources told local Mediafax that the Romanian authorities obtained information on where to find Gabriel Popoviciu, and informed the London Police. In turn, the British police officers managed to contact the lawyer of the Romanian businessman, who later went to a police station.
Update: Gabriel Popoviciu was released on bail, official sources told local Stirileprotv.ro. The businessman has paid GBP 200,000, and has to wear an electronic bracelet. Also, he has to go to the police station in London three times a week.
In early August, Gabriel Popoviciu, who is one of the owners of the Baneasa Shopping City mall in Northern Bucharest, was sentenced to seven years in prison, no parole, in a fraud and corruption case over how he received the 224-hectare land on which he built the mall and other real estate projects. The High Court’s judges reduced the conviction initially ruled by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, of nine years in jail.
The lawyer of Gabriel Popoviciu is former FBI director and former federal judge Louis J. Freeh. Last week, he defended the Romanian investor in a statement, saying that the “sentence and conviction are not supported by either the facts or the law.”
Louis J. Freeh explained that, last July, he was retained to conduct an independent review of Popoviciu’s conviction before the Romanian Court of Appeals. He conducted the review with the assistance of a team consisting of former federal prosecutors and former FBI Special Agents, one of whom speaks Romanian fluently.
“Our team thoroughly reviewed the evidence presented against Mr. Popoviciu at trial, including documentary evidence and surreptitious tape-recordings of his conversations. That review documented numerous factual and legal deficiencies in the case against Mr. Popoviciu,” reads the former FBI director’s statement.
Irina Marica, [email protected]