Romanian football boss Gigi Becali receives definitive 3-year jail sentence

Controversial football boss Gigi Becali has received a definitive three-year jail sentence today (May 20). Romania’s Supreme Court sentenced Becali to three years imprisonment for the MApN (Defense Ministry) land exchange case. Former minister Babiuc and former Chief of Staff General Dumitru Cioflină also received two-year jail sentences.

Becali was convicted of complicity in serious, long term abuse of the land exchange system. The court revoked a previous suspended sentence given to Becali in a kidnapping case.

He said that he regrets that he will not be able to serve as an MP, and that his constituency would not be represented. The Steaua football team boss also said “This is Satan’s land,” quoted by local news agency Mediafax.

Becali was stopped by police at Bucharest’s Otopeni Airport on Sunday night (May 19) while he was trying to flee the country, heading to Israel.

The Romanian businessman told the local press that his intention was to go to Israel just for few hours and pray before the Supreme Court’s decision scheduled for today (May 20) and that he didn’t know he was not allowed to leave the country, as the court had only made the decision a few hours previously.

Prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Department (DNA) requested jail time for Becali and the other defendants in this case, former Defense Ministry state secretary Dumitru Cioflina, former Defense Minister Victor Babiuc and the his daughter, Ioana Babiuc.

According to the bill of indictment, between 1996 and 1999, the Defense Ministry, which managed the state’s public domain in Voluntari, near capital Bucharest, exchanged some land plots – 28.8 hectares with Gigi Becali. This land exchange cost the Romanian state a total amount of over USD 890,000.

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