Romanian businessman George Copos, owner of two Bucharest hotels and of several other companies, as well as of a football club, was sentenced to four years in jail without parole, for tax evasion. The District 2 court issued the decision on Tuesday, January 29. Copos was accused of dodging EUR 1 million in taxes after selling retail spaces of his company Ana Electronic to the state – owned Romanian Lottery. Three other people were sentenced to jail for tax evasion and complicity: Gilio Giuzepe Rosa, Stelian Ioan Raţiu, and Nicolae Cristea. Gabriel Rogoveanu was also sentenced to three years in jail as an accomplice.
Copos is number 19 in the Forbes rich list for Romania with an estimated fortune of EUR 165 million.
Copos and Gilio Giuzepe Rosa, together with Nicolae Cristea will have to pay some RON 4 million – or EUR 866,000 to the Tax Administration – ANAF. The court decision can be further appealed at the Bucharest court.
The court decision came seven years after the case was started, in 2006. Back then, Copos resigned as vice-Prime Minister. The prosecutors said Copos, together with Roza and supported by Cristea and Rogoveanu, failed to pay their taxes in 2004, resulting in a loss of some EUR 1 million – based on the exchange rate at the time.
Copos owns the Rapid Bucharest football club and is a shareholder in the group Ana. The group owns the Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel and Crowne Plaza Hotel, as well as an office building in Bucharest. The group also owns several hotels on the seaside and in the mountain resorts.