Traian Basescu, who served as Romania’s president from December 2004 until December 2014, said in a TV show that he didn’t know of any business former US vice president Joe Biden or his family may have had in Romania, although he was very well informed. He suggested that he sees nothing wrong with Biden’s son providing consultancy to Romanian businessman Puiu Popoviciu, who was convicted to jail in 2017, in a corruption case.
Basescu also said that the Obama-Biden administration had nothing to do with the appointments of chief prosecutors in Bucharest, which were done only based on domestic political agreements, according to B1.ro.
The former president made these statements in the context of Romania’s name being involved in the Ukrainegate scandal. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now US president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, suggested in a Fox News interview on Sunday that Joe Biden’s son also had business in Romania. Donald Trump claims that Joe Biden, his likely opponents in next year’s presidential elections, used his influence as vice president of the United States to help his son’s business in Ukraine and China. Meanwhile, Trump himself faces impeachment for pressing Ukraine’s new president to investigate Biden’s operations in Ukraine.
“It’s difficult for me to say what information Rudolph Giuliani could have. What I can tell you for certain is that, when vice president Biden came to Bucharest, he had an extremely tight schedule, which I don’t think allowed him to handle business,” Basescu said.
“I honestly think they won’t find something to involve Biden here, especially since I have no idea of any business vice president Biden’s son may have had in Romania. And if his son had done business in Romania, I really should have known,” he added.
When asked about Hunter Biden’s business relations with Romanian businessman Puiu Popoviciu, Basescu said he saw nothing bad in this. As Bucharest mayor, Basescu approved the urban planning (PUZ) for Popoviciu’s Baneasa project. “I don’t know for what part of the deal (Popoviciu – e.n.) was convicted. Probably for the way the land was transferred to him, I assume. Because he came to the City Hall with a property certificate that was beyond doubt. If I remember correctly, it he held the land in co-property with a research institute. What is certain is that the taxes paid each year for the Baneasa project, I think are higher than the land’s value,” Basescu said at B1 TV.
The former president also referred to the American interests around Fondul Proprietatea, an investment fund with an initial capital of about EUR 4 billion, set up for compensating the people whose properties had been confiscated by the communist regime. He said the intelligence service (SRI) would have informed him if Biden’s son were in any way involved at Fondul Proprietatea. In 2011, US asset management company Franklin Templeton was appointed as manager of Fondul Proprietatea. Mark Gitenstein, who was the US ambassador to Romania at that time, was elected in Fondul Proprietatea’s Board of Nominees after he ended his mandate as ambassador. “That ambassador Gitenstein became a member of Fondul Proprietatea’s board, I don’t think it’s ok,” Basescu said, adding that Gitenstein had insisted for the creation of this fund and for selecting an international manager for it.
Asked if former VP Joe Biden and former ambassador Mark Gitenstein had a close relationship, Basescu replied: “I know for sure they had a very good relationship, which, at some point, turned sour.”
(Photo source: Ovidiu Micsik / Inquam Photos)