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Romanian ex-deputy prime minister fakes photo with Obama

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By Cristian Gherasim
Gabriel Oprea added a fake photo to his facebook page
Gabriel Oprea added a fake photo to his facebook page   -   Copyright  Gabriel Oprea

The former Deputy Prime Minister of Romania doctored a handshake that was never caught on camera, Gabriel Oprea posted a photo on Facebook, showing him shaking hands with the then US president Barack Obama.

In the Facebook post, with the photo attached - Oprea spoke of the efforts he took during his time in office towards strengthening relations between Romania and the United States.

That would not have been a problem, but the same image taken by the Romanian embassy in the U.S, includes a noteworthy difference. In the official photo it is Traian Basescu, the ex-president of Romania, shaking hands with Barack Obama, not Gabriel Oprea.

Romanian Embassy in Washington DC
The Romanian Embassy's photo shows Basescu shaking hands with ObamaRomanian Embassy in Washington DC

Facebook users were quick to spot the alleged fake handshake, pointing to the unnatural position Oprea is holding his arm while looking away from Barack Obama. It also appears that the alleged photo manipulation has made the politician look slimmer.

Other clues hinting to the photoshopped handshake are the identical facial expressions, positions and body postures of those present in the two photos, including the exact folds of their jackets.

Another giveaway is that the famous clock on the chimney-piece from official photos of the White House's Roosevelt Room has Arabic numerals, while in Oprea’s Facebook photo the same clock lacks numerals.

Contacted by Euronews over Facebook Messenger, Oprea replied that he attended the official visit to the White House together with the then president Traian Basescu and Bogdan Aurescu, former state secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He added that “in that room president Obama shook hands with Basescu, me and Aurescu! I’m neither a photographer nor am I able to falsify photos. This photo has been given to me. This is the truth.”

Gabriel Oprea, also a general in the Romanian army reserve was previously known to have plagiarized his PhD thesis.

Former-president Basescu also reacted on Facebook to the alleged fake, saying that this points to Oprea’s attempt to get back into politics.

_This article has been updated with a correction. Gabriel Opera is the former Deputy Prime Minister of Romania, not the former Vice-Prime Minister, as written previously. _