Convicted Romanian investor sues Romania at Washington court

Two firms registered in Cyprus linked with Romanian investor Gabriel Popoviciu, the owner of the Baneasa Shopping City, have filed a complaint against Romania at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington, local reported.

The two firms accuse Romania of breaching the bilateral treaty for protecting investments signed with Cyprus in 1991. The president, prime minister, justice minister and finance minister are among the culprits.

The two firms are represented by two British lawyers and the London office of the U.S. law firm Shearman & Sterling, one of the biggest in the world. According to sources familiar with this case, the complaint targets the distraint imposed by the Romanian prosecutors on some assets the two firms own in Romania.

Gabriel Popoviciu was sentenced to 7 years in jail last year, in a corruption case related to the way in which he acquired the 224-hectare land plot where he developed the Baneasa real estate project. He got the land through an association contract with the Agronomy University in Bucharest.

Popoviciu is currently in London. One of his lawyers is former FBI director Louis Freeh, who recently spoke with Forbes magazine about five measures to reestablish rule of law in Romania.