Justice finds no culprits in football transfers’ case

According to the Bucharest Court’s verdict, eight defendants have been acquitted and the distraint placed on 4 clubs has been lifted. The state will cover the court case costs.On Tuesday, the Bucharest Court acquitted eight defendants in the football transfers’ case. At the same time, the court lifted the distraint it had placed on FC Dinamo, FC Rapid, Otelul Galati and Gloria Bistrita, as well as that placed on the Becali brothers’ bank accounts. The state will cover the court case costs, Mediafax informs. All eight defendants – sports agents Ioan and Victor Becali, FC Rapid’s majority shareholder George Copos, FC Dinamo’s President Cristi Borcea, Gloria Bistrita President Jean Padureanu, former Dinamo shareholder Gigi Netoiu, former sports agent Gica Popescu and former Otelul Galati and Steaua President Mihai Stoica – were present in court on February 21. Back then, prosecutor Cristian Anghel asked for the court to issue executory sentences against the defendants. The sentences demanded varied from minimum sentences for Gheorghe Popescu and Jean Padureanu to maximum sentences for Ioan and Victor Becali. Anghel asked for an executory sentence against George Copos towards the upper end of the sentencing range for fraud and tax evasion and against Mihai Stoica above the minimum sentencing range for tax evasion and money laundering. For the rest of the defendants (Cristian Borcea, Ioan Becali, Victor Becali, Jean Padureanu, Gheorghe Netoiu, Gheorghe Popescu), the prosecutor asked for executory sentences towards the upper end of the sentencing range for fraud and tax evasion. The eight were sent to court by National Anticorruption Office (DNA) prosecutors on October 2, 2008, being charged with engaging in illegal transfers of players abroad, transfers that caused total damages of USD 1.5 M to the state and of over USD 10 M to four football clubs.The DNA indictment presents 12 transfers that Dinamo Bucharest, Rapid Bucharest, Gloria Bistrita and Otelul Galati made from 1999 to 2005. The players transferred abroad were: Cristian Dulca, Iulian Arhire, Cosmin Contra, Ionel Ganea, Paul Codrea, Florin Cernat, Bogdan Mara, Nicolae Mitea, Lucian Sanmartean, Florin Bratu, Dan Alexa and Adrian Mihalcea. The prosecutors claim that the total damages caused by the 8 defendants stood at: RON 4,113,648 (USD 1,485,071.5 at 1999-2005 exchange rates) to the state; USD 598,667 to the Romanian Football Federation; USD 10,969,690 to Dinamo Bucharest, Rapid Bucharest, Otelul Galati and Gloria Bistrita. The trial lasted three years and four months. The prosecutor’s office has announced it will appeal against the decision.Former defendants – relaxed statements

Ioan Becali (photo) stated for Antena 3: “I am not nervous at all, but I was expecting the verdict. I see journalists feel bad that I wasn’t sentenced to 20 years in jail. The figures published by the press are not real, it was all a set-up, the prosecutors wanted to prove they are working, that they deserve a salary hike. They asked for sentences of 20 years in jail. They would have been more credible asking for one or two years. Both I and my brother feel not guilty. The prosecutors will appeal, I believe it will last years, however all courts will rule we are innocent.” Victor Becali stated for Realitatea TV: “I found out from the TV, not from my lawyer. I wasn’t there, the hour when the decision was set to be announced was not known exactly. The DNA prosecutors were confused from the start.”

FRF President Mircea Sandu: “No comment”

“No comment” was Romanian Football Federation (FRF) President Mircea Sandu’s reaction, despite the fact that the DNA prosecutors claimed that FRF suffered damages of EUR 600,000, money that it should have received from the transfers. “I had a meeting with the fans and now I have another one with the Gendarmerie, I’m caught up with other issues,” the FRF President added .

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