Media: The “faceless vulture” in Romanian real estate, believed to be connected to Dragos Bilteanu’s embezzlement case

Greek businessman Ioannis Papalekas, one of the most powerful investors in Romanian real estate, is also connected to the case in which Romanian businessman Dragos Bilteanu was arrested on Tuesday, according to information in the prosecutors’ arrest report quoted by Romanian media.

Bilteanu, who is president of the board of SIF Banat-Crisana (SIF1) and also controls the management of SIF Muntenia (SIF4) is accused of having set up a network of people and off-shore firms to withdraw funds from the two companies, to launder the money, and use it for personal purposes.

Papalekas, who is called “the faceless vulture” by the Romanian media, due to the fact that there’s no official photo of his, was allegedly supposed to benefit from part of the funds which were embezzled from SIF Banat-Crisana and SIF Muntenia, according to legal sources quoted by Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei.

Papalekas and Bilteanu have been business partners for several years. They have made several transactions together, such as the takeover of the Tower Center office building, near Piata Victoriei, in 2012, for nearly EUR 50 million. In the beginning of 2014, Bilteanu sold his half of the building to Papalekas.

Ioannis Papalekas is the founder and main shareholder of Globalworth Real Estate Investments, an investment company which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Globalworth has been one of the most active investors on the Romanian real estate market this year, reporting several large acquisitions.

In the last month, Globalworth has bought Green Court Building A, the first building of an office compound developed by Swedish group Skanska, and the Nusco Tower office building, as well as a land plot near Green Court, spending almost EUR 100 million. Globalworth also owns several office buildings in the Pipera area and has more projects on the pipeline.

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