Justice Department investigators are looking into Rudy Giuliani's dealing with Romania, POLITICO reports.
The new focus comes after federal agents raided Giuliani's home and offices last month as part of an investigation into his possible illegal dealings with foreign entities. Investigators are looking at a letter Giuliani wrote in 2018 to Romanian president Klaus Iohannis slamming the "excesses" of Romania's National Anticorruption Directorate.
But according to POLITICO, Giuliani wrote the letter on behalf of former FBI director Louis Freeh's consulting firm Freeh Group, which paid Giuliani a retainer to work on the Romania project.
"Gabriel 'Puiu' Popoviciu, a Romanian property mogul who was sentenced to seven years in prison in a real estate fraud case, had hired Freeh in 2016 to review the evidence against him," POLITICO's Betsy Woodruff Swan and Daniel Lippman reports. "The Freeh Group found 'numerous factual and legal deficiencies' in the legal case that led to his conviction. A spokesperson for the Romanian president told POLITICO that Iohannis never replied to the letter."
"Popoviciu and his business partners have owned Pizza Hut and KFC franchises and branches of foreign hotel chains in Romania. The controversy is centered around land that was bought for a bargain basement price in northern Bucharest that became a top-flight shopping mall, offices, and luxury car showrooms," POLITICO's report continued. "The new U.S. embassy was also built on that land. Popoviciu, who at one point lived in New Jersey, was residing in London at the time of his arrest warrant in 2017, but soon surrendered and has fought his extradition back to Romania since."
Popoviciu told POLITICO that he knows nothing about Giuliani's interest in Romania, saying that he met him once "but never kept a direct contact." According to the report, the focus on Romania signifies that the DOJ investigation into Giuliani has a wider scope than previously known.
Read the full report over at POLITICO.