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February 27, 2021
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Three of Becali’s bodyguards, released

Three of the five people who were detained in relation to the theft of Gigi Becali’s car were released from detention on Friday night going into Saturday, as their arrest warrants expired, Mediafax said. The three are Catalin Zmarandescu, Stefan Dediu and Nicolae Dumitrascu. Zmarandescu and Dediu were released from detention by police precinct 13, while Dumitrascu, by precinct 20.

Last Thursday, a Bucharest City Court panel decided that the three be probed out of custody together with two others, Marcel Popa and Marian Milea. Magistrates thus rejected prosecutors’ appeal to a previous court sentence not to extend the arrest warrants issued in the suspects’ name. The Bucharest City Court panel’s decision was made by majority of votes, which means two of the three judges on the panel agreed to have the five released. The vote against came from the same judge who handled the case initially, Adina Radu. Popa and Milea, who were arrested on April 14 and 17, respectively, will be released from detention on May 12 and 15, as that is when their arrest warrants expire.

A week ago, District 1 Judge Hall rejected prosecutors’ request to extend the arrest warrants for Zmarandescu, Dumitrascu, Dediu, Milea and Popa, ruling that these people can be probed out of custody as they do not represent a risk for public order and have not tried to influence the investigation. The five are accused of having taken hostage the thieves of Becali’s car. The alleged thieves of the car were captured last week, but were released by the court and will be probed out of custody.

On April 2, Becali was detained by prosecutors, being accused, together with his bodyguards, of kidnapping three people. Dediu is also accused of using a non-lethal weapon without authorization. The Bucharest Prosecutor’s office, which asked that the five be held on remand, said that the suspects represent a public threat because they acted “as law enforcement agents”.

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