Steaua financier Gigi Becali and former Defence minister Victor Babiuc were acquitted yesterday by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in the case of the land swap with the Ministry of National Defence (MoD). The other co-defendants in the same case were acquitted as well, namely Dumitru Cioflina, former Chief of Staff and state secretary with MoD, and Ioana Cristina Babiuc, the daughter of Victor Babiuc. Magistrates justified the acquittal by the fact that the case misses one of the constitutive elements specific to a crime.The court also decided to lift the impounding measure in the case of two lands owned by Becali in Voluntari, a building belonging to Victor Babiuc, a land owned by Ioana Cristina Babiuc, and a building belonging to Dumitru Cioflina. The verdict is not final and may be challenged in court.Gigi Becali was accused of abuse against public interest, in aggravated and continued form, Victor Babiuc and his daughter were charged with taking bribes and, respectively, complicity to bribe taking, and Dumitru Cioflina faced the charge of misuse of authority. Prosecutors accuse MoD that, during 1996-1999, in its position as administrator of the public property lands in the Voluntari area (the area formerly known as Ferma Rosie), approved two land swap operations with George Becali, whom it gave a total area of 28.89 hectares of in-town arable land, thus causing a loss of USD 892,758 to the Romanian state. Using the prerogatives of their leading positions with the ministry, Cioflina and Babiuc approved the land swap operations between MoD and George Becali, to the detriment of the state. To make the transactions look legitimate, Cioflina and Babiuc included in the Defence Plan for 1997-2000 the construction of a new command post at Stefanestii de Jos, prosecutors said.So far, Becali was acquitted in all the cases against him. This year, he was cleared of all charges in a case involving the transfer of football players, then in the ‘Suitcase’ file that got him accused of bribe taking and use of forged writs. Last year, Becali was acquitted from the accusation of having illegally detained the thieves that stole his car – a case that also had him sent to preventive arrest, in April 2009.