Romanian Oligarch Popoviciu’s Manhattan Real Estate During Bloomberg Years

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Romanian Oligarch Popoviciu, convicted for fraud in leasing land for a new US Embassy in Romania had invested in luxury Manhattan apartments during the period Bloomberg was mayor (’02-’13). No connections to note but a coincidence. Also, Gitenstein, US Ambassador to Romania, during new embassy construction was a close friend and former staffer of Senator Biden.

Hidden In Plain Sight: America’s Own Island Haven: Manhattan (July 3, 2014)

excerpt 1

During his time in office, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a cheerleader for encouraging the mega-wealthy to relocate to the city. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?” he told New York magazine in September.

Combine that give-us-your-rich ethos with state and local policies that lavish tax breaks on Manhattan’s wealthiest homeowners and federal policies that allow real estate agents to close their eyes to whether their clients are trafficking in illicit money, and the results are predictable: New York is a magnet for the super-rich homebuyers from other lands bearing money of sometimes dubious provenance. The flood of foreign capital pouring into New York properties makes it easy for suspect figures to hide their fortunes amid Manhattan’s residential gold rush, according to interviews with money laundering experts and court documents and secret offshore records reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Excerpt 2

Family trust

Other notorious figures in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union whose names have been linked to pricey Manhattan properties include a famed Romanian shopping-mall developer and Russia’s fertilizer king.

Gabriel Popoviciu became one of Romania’s richest men by helping introduce his country to KFC and other American fast-food icons. Research by a European news organization, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, has revealed that his family has shelled out more than $8 million over the past decade to buy three apartments on the 44th floor of the Olympic Tower, one flight up from where Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos once held luxury space. He and his wife bought an apartment from American banker John Chalsty in 2004. The couple’s daughter was listed as the buyer of nearby apartments in 2006 and 2012. The last one was bought from Christie’s for $3.6 million.

Recently, though, Garbriel Popoviciu removed his name from the family holdings in the Olympic Tower. This move came amid two unfolding life events for him — a divorce from his long-time spouse and a criminal investigation of his business dealings in Romania. Prosecutors allege he and his associates bribed government officials as part of the behind-the-scenes machinations that allowed him to gain control of valuable state-owned land and develop a huge project that includes supermarkets, restaurants and the U.S. Embassy. Popoviciu denies wrongdoing.

Authorities have frozen Popoviciu’s assets in Romania, but have put no restrictions on his property outside the country. In March, Popoviciu sold his newly ex-wife his half-share of the apartment they purchased in 2004. The sale price: zero dollars.

Hidden In Plain Sight: America’s Own Island Haven: Manhattan (July 3, 2014)

Olympic Tower Manhattan wiki