"I am always ready."
- Niculescu before criminals kill him
Mihai Niculescu is the true mastermind and commander of the entire Syphon Filter conspiracy, as well as The Consortium's leader.
Although he did not physically appear in the trilogy, he was a major antagonist in the first game all the way to the fourth. It was not until the Omega Strain that he was seen.
Raised in the wealthy Niculescu Family which is among the most powerful European associations, Mihai clambered the corporate ladder and ascended to CEO of Niculescu Funds, Ltd. His power also increased accordingly over the course of his life until he was ranked as the third richest man in the world. His financial influence led to positions on numerous international boards including UN, NATO, and Olympic Councils, while his reputation made him as white as a saint. As he hid from the public, his desire to manipulate global affairs developed into connections with criminal forces and the plot to create the Syphon Filter virus.
Niculescu first established the shadow corporation Meta Global Funds to direct all events in the operation. He then orchestrated the takeover of several companies to participate in it, such as Pugari Mining in South Africa and Murakawa Industries from Japan. While other conspirators served his second-in-command and right-hand man Vincent Hadden, Mihai preferred to purposefully keep his distance; he directed events through Mara Aramov, the two having met at an unspecified time years ago.
Niculescu ordered Mara to deal with the traitorous Mikhas Ivankov to recover the Omega Strain. He later began a steady shutdown of his companies, including Murakawa, in order to deter authorities. Despite being warned by Alex Birchim to ignore Niculescu, Gabe Logan engineered a storming of Meta Global Headquarters. The IPCA operation into Niculescu Funds returned irrefutable evidence of his bank financing criminal enterprises such as the Anarchiste Libertaire Armee (ALA) but was otherwise fruitless although there were documents that linked Alex Birchim to the mastermind, the White House official having been bribed to keep IPCA personnel away from Niculescu. Nonetheless, an Agency virus disrupted the entire computer network which erased all accounts held with the company after sending the data to the Agency system.
Despite dispatching Aramov to find Ivankov, believing that the terrorist had become traitorous, Niculescu nevertheless permitted Ivankov to attack Moscow in hopes of selling a viral antidote and profiting. He ignored Aramov's warnings that Ivankov acquired a nuclear weapon for the impending strike. The disagreement between them caused Niculescu to betray her. Mihai arranged for Aramov to be killed, but Gabe Logan intervened and Aramov in turn helped the Agency stop Ivankov.
Despite a lack of proof against Niculescu, authorities would not need to investigate since the criminals who lost money from his bank murdered him in his Zurich office as confirmed by local news reports and Elsa Weissenger.
Personality and characteristics
"Oh, it's Niculescu, isn't it? That's how you found this place. Of course. You've been to Zurich and found nothing."
"Give me his files, Mara. All of 'em."
"His files? (scoffs) What a fool you are. There are NO files. What, you think Mihai is some stupid dog-stool like Phagan? Or Hadden? You think you'd just crawl under the bed and find a box full of papers marked 'Meta Global Funds?"
"Something like that."
"He keeps it in his head. All of it. You will NEVER get Niculescu."
- Mara describes Niculescu to Gabe
"Is Niculescu the kind of man who keeps his valuables in one place?... Or neat and ordered like a museum collection?"
- Gabe muses on Niculescu's valuable collection
"Trust me, Mara... I have everything under control."
- Niculescu in response to Mara's comment
Calm, collected and lucid, Niculescu was "always ready", even before mercenaries killed him for the deletion of his clients' files from the Meta Global computer network. He seemed to fit the profile of a genius and a sociopath. This was evident when he "didn't give a damn about Moscow" and his cunning was further seen in his drugging of Mara Aramov to stop her from warning Russia. Had Gabe Logan not stormed his estate, Aramov would have been killed.
Niculescu was claimed by Gabe to be the head of one of the most prestigious banks in Zurich, making him powerful and influential. He was number 3 on the top 10 list of the world's wealthiest men and sat on dozens of International Committees.
Furthermore, Teresa wrote that Niculescu was on every important financial board from the EU Finance committee to the NATO financial group.
Smarter than Jonathan Phagan and even Vincent Hadden, Niculescu left a minimal paper trail, and even none, preferring to keep things 'in his head'.
Despite Mara's protests that everything was out of control, Niculescu seemed to have 'everything in control'.
Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain
- "The Omega Strain" (prologue)
- Carthage, Michigan: Quarantine Zone (mentioned)
- Carthage, Michigan: Warehouse District (indirectly mentioned)
- Carthage, Michigan: Carthage Mall (cutscene)
- Mazyr, Belarus: Belaya Vezha (mentioned)
- Minsk, Belarus: International University (mentioned)
- North Atlantic: Lorelei Salvage Rig (cutscene)
- Taguang, Myanmar: Irawaddy Basin (cutscene)
- Zurich, Switzerland: Niculescu Funds Tower (cutscene)
- Budva, Montenegro: Niculescu's Villa Estate (mentioned)
- Kiev, Ukraine: Chechen Terrorist Base (cutscene)
- "I'm Always Ready" (epilogue)