Who is Gabriel Popoviciu? Hunter Biden accused of helping Romanian tycoon escape prison

Hunter Biden’s murky business has once again come to light, this time indicating how willing he is to go and help his friends. The latest email leak from his laptop shows Hunter allegedly contacted former FBI Director Louis Freeh in an attempt to help Romanian business mogul Gabriel Popoviciu avoid corruption charges in Romania, so that his father was vice president.

Hunter’s laptop has proven to be hugely successful for Republicans, who have used repeated denunciations to push the narrative that Joe Biden is corrupt and was involved in his son’s affairs. President Biden has said on several occasions that he is unaware of his son’s business dealings, but that may not be entirely true. In late May, email leaks showed the then-vice president was roped up for a meeting with 13 other people at a dinner party in 2015. While it’s not clear whether Biden attended the dinner, emails show Hunter said “daddy would be there” to meet with his associates in Washington DC.

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The emails also revealed intimate details about Hunter’s sex life, most notably with his sister-in-law Hallie and Washington-based stripper Lunden Roberts. But it is his business relations that have constantly put him in difficulty with the Conservatives. The latest example is Popoviciu, who was charged with corruption at the time.

Hunter Biden attends T&C Philanthropy Summit with “Generosity Of Eye” screening at Lincoln Center with Town & Country on May 28, 2014 in New York City (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for Town & Country)

Who is Gabriel Popoviciu?

The Romanian businessman is deeply connected with some of the biggest franchises in the world. The son of a university professor, Popoviciu grew up in communist Romania, where he married the daughter of the then Deputy Prime Minister. After the Revolution of 1989, which led to the fall of the Communist regime, Popoviciu emigrated to New Jersey. However, he soon returned to Romania and started working on business with Nicolae Badea, who is the president of FC Dynamo Bucharest football club.

Together, the duo first established a computer technology company in the early 1990s, before rapidly expanding in the fields of commerce and real estate. Popoviciu is best known for bringing popular American brands such as Pizza Hut, KFC and Swedish giant IKEA to Romania. In 1994, he launched the first Pizza Hut franchise, followed by KFC in 1997. In 2007, he opened the IKEA franchise, making him one of the richest and most powerful men in the country.

It also expanded into the hotel business by purchasing Howard Johnson, Ramada Plaza and Ramada Parc. Together, the three hotels bring in around 29 million euros (approximately $ 3,53 17,360) according to one 2009 report. But the real jewel of its real estate portfolio is the Baneasa real estate project. Dubbed “the biggest real estate investment in Romania”, Popoviciu is believed to have a considerable amount of space, which also led to its downfall.

Bribery allegations and Biden’s involvement

At the beginning of 2001, Traian BMasescu, then mayor of Bucharest, signed an agreement to cede land to Popoviciu for the Baneasa project. Apparently, the deal cost the state over € 1 billion (approximately $ 1,217,840,000) and was subsequently thoroughly investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. In 2009 he was detained and named as one of the defendants in the corruption scandal.

According to reports, Popoviciu acquired the land illegally through various shell companies, then began to reallocate land that belonged to a local university. In 2017, a court sentenced Popoviciu to seven years in prison, but he fled the country for the UK at the time. Then he went to london and was released on bail of £ 200,000 ($ 2,837,247). It was around this time that Hunter contacted Freeh. It is not known how Hunter got to know Popoviciu, in the email he simply says that he “got closer” to Popoviciu. Hunter added: “He is in my opinion a very good man who is treated very badly by a suspicious Romanian justice system.”

FBI Director Louis Freeh makes an announcement on June 21, 2001, at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

This email was sent in 2016 when Hunter was working for Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. He calls Popoviciu a “client,” so it is likely that the firm represented Popoviciu in a legal manner. “Time is running out and my client has never hesitated to bring together the right team at any cost to obtain justice” Hunter wrote. At the time, Freeh was no longer working with the FBI, but emails show he contacted colleagues in an attempt to help Hunter.

Freeh replied to the letter: “I will see my good friend Ron Noble (former SecGen INTERPOL), in New York on Thursday, and he very probably knows very well this prosecutor of the DNA (National Anti-Corruption Directorate of Romania), Laura Codruta Kobesi. . Let me talk to her and see what the possibilities are to meet her and engage in a dialogue that would remedy the situation. ”

In a subsequent email, Freeh revealed, “I have had conversations with the head of the FBI Criminal Division and there is a sincere interest from the Bureau in meeting and debriefing Gabriel on other matters he may be willing to discuss.” He did not specify what these “materials” were. Freeh also asked Hunter “a small payment for this recommendation and for your continued work on this matter.” It’s unclear how much Hunter was paid, but this channel led Freeh to say he wanted to explore “future work options” with Biden.

But despite the efforts of the two men, Popoviciu was still sentenced in Romania. It is believed that Freeh then enlisted Rudy Giuliani’s help, which ironically led to the leaking of the emails. The leaks also revealed Freeh and the $ 100,000 donation he made to a Biden family trust, in an attempt to woo POTUS. Reports also indicate that the federal investigation into Giuliani is examining the Romania connection, which further links Freeh to the disgraced former New York mayor. It is not known if Hunter’s name appeared during this investigation.

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