Romanian Businessman Dinu Patriciu Dies At 64

Update 08.19.2014 By Oana Gavrila

Romanian businessman Dinu Patriciu, 64, has died in London, where he was receiving cancer treatment.

Patriciu had suffered a liver transplant in December 2012. His doctor said his death was likely caused by a post-transplant infection.

Born in 1950, in Bucharest, Patriciu founded the first private business in Romania in 1990, after the fall of the communist regime. An architecture university graduate, he founded an architecture firm, which he managed until 1998.

Patriciu had accumulated a vast experience in the real estate sector before 1989, having worked on several projects in the United Arab Emirates.

He returned to Romania shortly after the 1989 Revolution and was a founding member of the newly re-formed Liberal Party. He was appointed Minister of Public Works in 1991.

He was a lawmaker in the 1990-1992, 1992-1996, and the 2000-2004 legislatures. he left active politics in 2013 to focus on his businesses.

In 1998, Patriciu bought oil company Rompetrol, which he sold in 2007 to Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas, which paid $1.6 billion for a 75% stake. At the time of the sale, Patriciu owned 80% in Rompetrol and his American business partner Phillip Stevenson owned the remaining 20%. Rompetrol group consisted of 40 companies and operated in 13 countries. KazMunayGas bought the remaining 25% stake in Rompetrol in 2009. Rompetrol remains to the say the biggest private business ever sold by a Romanian entrepreneur.

After the sale of his oil business, Patriciu announced plans to do business on the European real estate market, on the media market and other projects in the energy sector.

In 2009, together with former Georgian prime minister Lado Gurgenidze, he bought the People's Bank of Georgia for $15 million.

In 2008, Patriciu ranked 462 in the world's richest ranking drawn up by U.S. Forbes magazine, with an estimated $2.5 billion, and was the richest Romanian. Four years later, he dropped to 854 in the ranking, with an estimated fortune of $1.5 billion. he exited the ranking in 2013.

Patriciu's fortune declined in recent years due to investments that proved unprofitable. His most resounding failure was the retail chain. In September 2011, Patriciu owned 830 stores and 58 Macro and miniMax stores. A year later, the company through which he owned the retail chain went insolvent, wasting investments of dozens of millions of euros. The retail chain's debts to banks and suppliers exceeded RON700 million in 2012.

Patriciu's media business didn't fare very well either. Adevarul Holding, which he founded in 2006, after buying newspaper Adevarul, went insolvent in 2012.

In recent years, Patriciu was involved in several trials. At the time of his death, he was a defendant in three separate trials and was being investigated by the organized crime and terrorism department. Patriciu was accused of embezzlement, money laundering and stock market manipulation regarding Rompetrol and was acquitted of all charges in 2012.


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