Eight Romanian soccer 'bigwigs' were sentenced to prison without suspension by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, in a final ruling on Tuesday.
Photo credit: (c) Grigore Popescu / AGERPRES ARHIVA
George Copos, the former majority shareholder of Rapid FC, was condemned to 3 years and 8 months of imprisonment; Mihai Stoica, General Manager of Steaua FC, got 3 years and 6 months; Cristian Borcea, former shareholder of Dinamo FC — 6 year and 4 months; Ioan Becali — 6 years and 4 months; Victor Becali — 4 years and 8 months.
Jean Padureanu, the former Chair of Gloria Bistrita football club, was also sentenced to 3 years and 4 months in prison in the same case; Gheorghe Popescu got 3 years, one month and 10 days, and Gheorghe Netoiu got 3 years and four months of imprisonment, all without suspension.
The court has changed the legal charges for most of the crimes of the eight soccer personalities. For Mihai Stoica, deceit was replaced with grievous deceit; for Cristian Borcea, money laundering was changed into continued money laundering.
Thus, even if the court noted the cessation of the trial for some crimes like deceit or tax avoidance, the judges decided to sentence for the grievous forms of the same.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal sentenced the defendants based on the new Criminal Code or the old one, according to the demands submitted by their lawyers during the last hearing.
The eight were not present when the sentences were issued; they must report to the police precincts of their residencies or to the Bucharest Police Criminal Investigation Division to be taken into custody.
The National Anticorruption Directorate had alleged that the actions of the eight defendants had generated damages amounting to nearly 1.5 dollars to the state budget, and more than 10 million dollars to four football clubs; some of the money resulting from transfers have been laundered through off-shore companies.
The prosecution's charges concerned 12 transfers of Romanian soccer players from the clubs Dinamo Bucharest, Rapid Bucharest, Gloria Bistrita, and Otelul Galati to foreign clubs between 1999 and 2005.
According to the evidence brought in court, bank transfers were made between Copos, Borcea, the Becali brothers, Popescu, and Netoiu using misappropriated funds; the defendants transferred money to each other's personal accounts, without justification. AGERPRES