BUCHAREST – A fugitive Romanian businessman sentenced to seven years in prison for real estate fraud was detained in London on Monday, British and Romanian police said.
Gabriel Popoviciu, who was sentenced on Aug. 2 in Bucharest, turned himself in Monday after Romanian police located him in London, Romanian authorities said. Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said Romania would start extradition proceedings.
London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that officers from its extradition unit arrested Popoviciu. He was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court later in the day.
Prosecutors said Popoviciu, 58, obtained land in north Bucharest from a state university at a vastly undervalued price and used it to build the capital’s best-known mall. The High Court for Cassation and Justice sentenced him for illegally acquiring the land from 2000 to 2004. He denied wrongdoing.
The ex-rector of the University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Nicolae Alecu, was sentenced in the same case to six years in prison for official misconduct.