Papalekas distances himself from Bîlteanu

A.A. (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
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Papalekas distances himself from Bîlteanu

Businessman Ioannis Papalekas distances himself from his former business partner Dragoş Bîlteanu, who was placed in preventive detention in the case of embezzlement from the SIFs, in an open letter which he sent on December 22nd, in which he states that lately, his business dealings with the former CEO of SIF Banat-Crişana had diminished considerably.

Ioannis Papalekas says that he wants to make sure that the public has an accurate representation of the facts, after he talked to the DIICOT prosecutors last week. Judicial sources have announced, after the arrests of Dragoş Bîlteanu and Najib el Lakis, that Ioannis Papalekas is also being criminally indicted, because in the context of Globalworth (the real estate investment fund which he founded) going public, he allegedly made a deal with Dragoş Bîlteanu for SIF1 Banat-Crişana and SIF4 Muntenia to invest in the shares of the fund, which later acquired Bucharest Tower Center, in Victoriei Square, in which Dragoş Bîlteanu controlled 50% of the shares.

Papalekas' letter comes as, on Friday, December 19th, he has informed the Globalworth board that the prosecutor has confirmed to him, following meetings that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, that he was not the subject of any investigation.

In the closing of the letter he sent yesterday, however, Papalekas says that he is confident the prosecutor will come to the conclusion he is innocent, in relation to this case: "Indeed, in the beginning of this week, (ed. note: of last week) we had a meeting with the prosecutor who is in charge of this case, upon his request, and in order to show my support for his inquiries. Considering that he still has full knowledge of the facts, I am confident that he will quickly come to the conclusion that I am not guilty of any of the presumptive charges against me and that he will take all the necessary measures, in order for me to be removed from any further investigation".

In the beginning of his letter, Ioannis Papalekas calls upon the press to show "more caution" when it comes to the manner in which it reports on his own actions which are related to the current situation".

He also said that Globalworth has always conducted its business with the utmost integrity: "Through this letter, I am trying to end the concerns that all of our investors, our many employees, directors and associates as well as our numerous suppliers and business partners are having. I am extremely proud of the fact that every company I've ever been associated with, including Globalworth, has always conducted their business with the utmost integrity and in compliance with the best internationally recognized standards and business practices".

"Neither me personally nor the company I work with have acquired any kind of rights in SIF Banat or SIF Muntenia "

Ioannis Papalekas provides details on the relationship that he had with Dragoş Bîlteanu. He says that neither he nor the company he is a shareholder in have acquired any kind of rights in SIF Banat or SIF Muntenia: "It is true that Dragoş Bîlteanu was one of my business partners, exclusively in the real estate sector. The main transactions that we have both been involved in concern the acquisition and the development of the Upground Estates project, located in the Dimitrie Pompeiu area, and the Tower Center International project ("the TCI project"), of which the latter was mentioned in the press many times. My professional ties to Mr. Bîlteanu have significantly diminished over the years and, since 2008, the only common business project we had was the one that involved the TCI Project, in which I have acquired from him a stake of 50% in the year 2012. The circumstances of the accomplishment of this project were publicly reported by me, as well as by Globalworth on countless occasions in the past. Mr. Bîlteanu and me (each of us as owners of 50% in the TCI project) signed an agreement in July 2013, to sell the project to Globalworth. This aspect was completely and publicly disclosed in the IPO of Globalworth, as the sale was agreed subject to an independent evaluation, as was the case in all the similar transactions in which myself or an entity associated with me have been involved. I've always sought to provide a maximum of transparency when it comes to these aspects.

The acquisition of the TCI project by Globalworth was completed in February 2014. It was in fact the last project that was transferred to Globalworth from the initial portfolio and its acquisition was financed using money made available by Swiss bank UBS. I want to clarify that the acquisition of this project has not been done using the funds raised from the IPO. Those funds were used to acquire other properties.

Globalworth has always followed a number of conditions and special procedures when concluding any type of contract in which me or an associate of mine de contract are a contracting party and all of those conditions and special procedures are always complied with: (i) an independent evaluation, (ii) arm's length contracting and (iii) the making of the acquisition decision by the non-executive directors, meaning without my involvement. All of these procedures have been followed (and publicly reported) in connection to the TCI transaction, as has happened in every Globalworth transaction I had a personal interest in.

Some of the articles published in the press mention a number of other individuals accused of having been involved in illegal activities together with Mr. Dragoş Bîlteanu. I have never met any of these people who are being indicted and I have not involved myself in any business or any other relationship with them. I can confirm that neither me nor any other company associated with me has ever made any kind of deal with SIF Banat or with any of its employees, its administrators or shareholders. As a matter of fact, SIF Banat has itself recently confirmed that it has never invested in Globalworth and has denied having traded shares in Globalworth, contrary to claims made in various articles published by the press. SIF Muntenia has indeed made an investment at the time Globalworth was listed, when it acquired 200,000 shares for a price of 5 euros per share, for a total value of 1,000,000 Euros. I do not know if SIF Muntenia still owns shares in Globalworth, but I can confirm that the price of the shares has remained above the price they were taken public at.

I can confirm that neither myself as a person, nor the company I am an associate of have not acquired any kind of rights in SIF Banat or SIF Muntenia and neither have I concluded any deal with any of these entities, because, since my coming to Romania in the year 2000, I have made the decision not to get involved in the trading of stock and bonds on the Romanian exchanges".

According to the businessman, Globalworth has invested approximately 700 million Euros in Romanian projects, in the last 18 months alone.

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