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Football Transfers case sent to the Court of Appeals for retrial

The ICCJ magistrates decided yesterday to invalidate the ruling previously issued in the case in which eight football world officials were sentenced to jail. “Now everything restarts, the expertise is conducted, the witnesses are heard, everything, it could last another 3-4 years,” LPF President Dumitru Dragomir stated.

A coup de theatre took place in the Football Transfers case in which eight important members of the Romanian world of football were sentenced to jail. Although a final decision in this case was expected yesterday, the Supreme Court decided to send the case back to the Bucharest Court of Appeals (CAB) for a retrial. In November 2012 the Court of Appeals issued jail sentences of 3-8 years for the eight football officials charged with fraud. The judges thus admitted the appeals filed by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors and by Gheorghe Popescu, George Copos, Mihai Stoica, Cristian Borcea, Ioan and Victor Becali, Jean Padureanu and Gheorghe Netoiu, “completely” cancelling the decision through which the CAB sentenced them to jail on November 12, 2012. After the court announced its decision, Professional Football League (LPF) President Dumitru Dragomir pointed out that the decision is “most correct.” “I said that this will be the decision, you can call me the Oracle from Balcesti. I talked with all the great lawyers and they told me it will be a retrial. The ICCJ panel was professional, this was the most correct decision. Now everything restarts, the expertise is conducted, the witnesses are heard, everything, it could last another 3-4 years,” Dragomir stated for sport.ro. The League official pointed out that the case has gone too far because the eight defendants brought money to the country. Former Gloria Bistrita President Jean Padureanu stated that he has confidence in the judiciary “one hundred per cent,” underlining that he is innocent and convinced that “at the very end this will be proven.” “The trial will continue and I continue to resist, especially since I know I am innocent. I would have been annoyed had a more drastic decision been taken, but I received three years, suspended sentence.

Had I been guilty they would have sentenced me from the start, but probably for some problems with the paperwork, I wouldn’t call them irregularities, the court decided not to issue an executory sentence against me,” Padureanu stated, being quoted by Mediafax. George Copos, FC Rapid’s main shareholder, did not want to comment the ICCJ judges’ decision but pointed out that neither he nor other club officials did anything illegal. The Bucharest court acquitted all eight defendants in the Football Transfers case (Ioan and Victor Becali, George Copos, Mihai Stoica, Jean Padureanu, Cristi Borcea, Gigi Netoiu and Gheorghe Popescu) on April 3, 2012. The decision was attacked by National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors at the Bucharest Court of Appeals (CAB). CAB issued jail sentences of 3 to 8 years on November 12, 2012. Thus, Ioan Becali was sentenced to eight years in jail, executory sentence; Victor Becali and Cristi Borcea were sentenced to seven years in jail, executory sentence; George Copos was sentenced to five years in jail, executory sentence; Mihai Stoica to four years in jail, executory sentence; Jean Padureanu, Gheorghe Popescu and Gigi Netoiu to three years in jail, suspended sentence.

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