The Supreme Court sentenced Romanian MP George Becali to three years in jail, with parole, for having kidnapped the people who had stolen his limousine. After the court decision, which is final, Becali announced his resignation from the National Liberal Party (PNL), which he had joined just before the general elections in December last year. His resignation was mainly triggered by his wish to not harm the party, he said.
Becali will keep his seat in the Parliament but as an independent MP. If the court had also ruled the loss of electoral rights, Becali would have lost his MP seat as well.
The court decided that eight years of parole will follow the three-year jail sentence. While on parole, Becali will have to respect several obligations imposed by the probation officer in his area. Becali’s bodyguards Ştefan Dediu, Cătălin Otto Zmărăndescu, Mihai Mila and Marcel Popa received similar sentences. The prosecutors had asked for 11 years in jail, in the court case which started in 2009. In January 2009, Becali asked his bodyguards to find the people who had stolen his car – a Mercedes Maybach – and bring them to the bar at the headquarters of Becali’s party, the New Generation Party (PNG), in the Pipera area of Bucharest. Becali forced them to sign statements about having stolen the car and pledge that they would not report to the Police that they were chased down and forcefully taken to Pipera. One of the robbers was shot with a rubber bullet, which was removed from his leg at the Pipera bar. In a first decision in 2011, the court said the victims were not forbidden to leave, and were even given drinks at the bar in Pipera.
George Becali, also known as Gigi Becali, is a former European MP and a real estate investor. He won a seat in the Romanian Parliament last year, when he gave up his mandate as an MEP. He recently said he made a big mistake when he gave up his seat in the European parliament and was seeking ways to re-gain it.
In Romania, the controversial politician often makes headlines in tabloid media in Romania and his TV show appearances were on numerous occasions sanctioned by the National Audiovisual Council because of his language.
(photo source: Agerpres)