What Giuliani did not mention in the letter was that he wrote it on behalf of the Freeh Group, a consultancy company set up by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, which paid the former mayor a deposit to work on the project in Romania. In 2018, Giuliani refused to disclose the amount, and his letter is the only Romania-related work he has done that is known to the public. Gabriel “Puiu” Popoviciu, a Romanian property tycoon sentenced to seven years in prison in a case of real estate fraud, had hired Freeh in 2016 to review the evidence against him. The Freeh group found “many factual and legal loopholes” in the legal case that led to his conviction. A spokesperson for the Romanian president told POLITICO that Iohannis never responded to the letter.
Popoviciu in 2015 had also hired Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, to help end the fraud investigation against him. Hunter Biden reportedly quit working for Popoviciu when Giuliani got involved in 2018. Giuliani harshly criticized Hunter Biden for his ties to foreign companies, notably in Ukraine and China.
Popoviciu and its business partners own Pizza Hut and KFC franchises and branches of foreign hotel chains in Romania. The controversy centers on land purchased at an advantageous price in the basement in the north of Bucharest which has become a first-rate shopping center, offices and luxury car showrooms. the a new American embassy was also built on this land. Popoviciu, who once lived in New Jersey, was residing in London at the time of his arrest warrant in 2017, but quickly surrendered and has fought his extradition to Romania ever since.
When POLITICO called Popoviciu and texted him about Giuliani’s work in Romania on Tuesday morning, he replied: “I don’t know anything about his interest in Romania. I met him there when he was invited by a private group for a speech [sic], but never kept direct contact. ”
Giuliani hasn’t spoken much publicly about his work in Romania except to tell the Guardian when asked if his letter was related to the case of Popoviciu: “General situation not a single case. The letter speaks for itself. The rest you have to get from my client. He also told POLITICO in 2018 that his letter “was based on a report that I reviewed” by Freeh and that the Freeh Group was “paying my fees.”
Giuliani’s activity in Romania has drawn the attention of federal investigators examining his work abroad. This means that Giuliani’s probe took on a larger lens than previously known. If Giuliani’s work in Romania was only intended to influence government officials there and not aimed at the American public, he would not have been required to disclose the work to the Justice Department by law. on the registration of foreign agents.
A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment. Asked about a comment for this story, an attorney for Giuliani, Robert Costello, said in a text message: “No idea on this. We have no such information. Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment. Freeh and a representative from his current company, AlixPartners, also did not respond to a request for comment.
One of the objectives of the investigation into Giuliani is said to relate to his ties to Ukrainian billionaire businessman Dmitry Firtash, whom the US government has accused of violating anti-corruption laws. Firtash has been in Vienna for years to fight extradition. The Giuliani probe would also focus on if his efforts to oust former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch were they in Trump’s name? or at the request of Ukrainian officials who wanted his departure. Giuliani had planned a trip to Ukraine in 2019 this he canceled later where he hoped to meet with the Ukrainian president-elect to demand investigations into Hunter Biden’s work for a scandal-ridden Ukrainian energy company.
Ukraine and Romania aren’t the only countries outside of the United States where Giuliani has found business. The former mayor was a partner in a law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, which had an office in Kazakhstan. Giuliani’s consulting firm also worked with a state-owned energy company in Qatar, according to the Wall Street Journal, and he signed a contract train law enforcement at the Bahrain Ministry of the Interior in 2019.