POLITICS

Gigi Becali risks staying one more year in prison

The financier of Steaua Bucharest was taken in court, for the trial of the ‘Suitcase’ file. Becali spoke for approximately two hours before the judges of the High Court, admitting that he forged documents in order to justify the money seized by DNA. Prosecutors asked a 4-year prison sentence.

Becali was sent in court for the ‘Suitcase’ file by the prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate in December 2008, when he was charged with giving bribes and using forged private documents. The coach of the national football team, Victor Piturca was charged with favouring the criminal, the former deputy Chairman of Steaua, Teia Sponte with complicity to bribe giving and Alina Ciul, one of Becali’s lawyers and Radu Marino were charged with favouring the criminal and using forged private documents. According to the accusation act made by DNA, on 11 May 2006 the financer of FC Steaua promised to each player of the football club ‘Gloria 1922 Bistrita’ between EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000 in order to correctly defend their chances and obtain a favourable result in the match against Rapid Bucharest on 12 May 2006. Two years later, in May 2008, Becali offered EUR 1,700,000 to the players of ‘Universitatea Cluj’, same as in the previous case, so they correctly defend their chances and win the match against ‘CFR 1907 Cluj,’ the rival of FC Steaua Bucharest at winning the championship, DNA informs. The file reached its end yesterday, as anticorruption prosecutors appealed against the verdict of April 2012 pronounced by another panel of the supreme court, which acquitted Gigi Becali, Teia Sponte, Alina Florentina Ciul, Victor Piturca and Radu Gheorghe Marino.
The trial started around 1.00 PM, and before entering the courtroom Becali shouted on the hallway of ICCJ “if you throw me to the claws of death, the Lord will be with me.’ Gigi Becali talked for approximately two hours before the judges and had a hallucinating exchange of retorts with the members of the court, but admitted that he forged documents in order to justify the money seized by DNA prosecutors. He told judges that in 2008, before the match between U Cluj and CFR Cluj, he offered EUR 1.7 M to the players of U Cluj. Becali added that, after U Cluj accepted the prize, he sent Teia Sponte with the money to Cluj. He added that the people he sent with the money told what he instructed them to say and are innocent. “It is my fault. I had a presentment and told them to say that the money belongs to Gigi Becali and are for a land. They are not guilty for what I ordered them to do. The statement made by Sponte Teia at that moment was because this is what I told him to say. Teia knew what the money was for, but had nothing to do with it. He only had to go and give the money: “If they lose, you give them nothing, if they win you give them the money… Teia cannot be accused,” the financer of FC Steaua said Monday in court.
With respect to the charge of uttering in the “Suitcase” file, Becali said it all started from a discussion over what was supposed to happen in case Teia Sponte was caught while giving the U Cluj players the money. Becali said he forged the date of a document referring to the sales-purchase of a tract of land in Cluj, then called Victor Piturca and made him sign as a witness.
“I have changed the date so that I could take the money. Nobody is to blame. I have signed, I have written it all. Piturca came to the Palace. I told him: “Come and sign here as a witness.”  Piturca had no idea, didn’t know anything,” said Becali.
The FC ST-OAIA  financier also said he fabricated the documents, and lawyer Alina Ciul did nothing but registered them.
“I am sorry I was doing it, but I made the bonus payments only to prevent match fixing and, implicitly, make those teams’ players to do their duty. I don’t remember whether I told Piturca what the document I made him sign referred to,” Becali added.
The Steaua owner told High Court Judges he was happy he was serving time in prison: “Conscience is like a witness during the deeds. Then it becomes a judge. I’m telling you I’m happy, even if I am where I am “.
After the High Court hearings, prosecutors concluded their indictment asking that Gigi Becali be sentenced to four years in jail. If judges agree with the proposal, the “Suitcase” file and that involving the land swap with the Ministry of Defense (MoD), where Becali was sentenced to three years in prison, could be merged, with Becali to serve the longest-running sentence, four years namely.
Also, prosecutors asked that Victor Piturca get a two year suspended sentence. Prosecutors asked that lawyer Alina Ciul, a defendant in the “Suitcase” case, be sentenced to two years in prison, and Teia Sponte, two-year probation for complicity.
The panel of five judges was to pass the verdict last night, or in the next few days.

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