Nicolae Popa (businessman)

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Nicolae Popa (born circa 1965) is a controversial Romanian businessman. In 2006 he was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail for fraud and embezzlement related to the 2000 collapse of the Fondul Naţional de Investiţii (FNI) ponzi scheme with an estimated prejudice of 1.2 million euros spread between some 130,000 investors. This sentence is final; all appeals have been exhausted. Popa has also been sentenced to 12 years in jail for a different affair, Fondului Naţional de Acumulare (FNA), but this decision may still be appealed. On the run since 2002, Popa was apprehended in December 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sorin Ovidiu Vântu, a high-profile businessman and owner of several newspapers and television stations, declared after Popa's apprehension that he still considers Popa a friend and that the sentences are "a giant manipulation".[1][2]

In the final televised debate of the 2009 presidential elections, Popa's arrest was used as political ammunition by the incumbent president Traian Băsescu against runoff rival Mircea Geoană, after the latter met with Vântu the night before the debate just after news of Popa's apprehension broke out.[3]

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