Galatasaray legend Popescu receives suspended sentence

Galatasaray legend Popescu receives suspended sentence

BUCHAREST - Agence France-Presse
Galatasaray legend Popescu receives suspended sentence

Gheorghe Popescu is best remembered for scoring the decisive penalty against Arsenal in the 2000 UEFA Cup final. Hürriyet photo

Former Romanian great Gheorghe Popescu received a three-year suspended prison sentence on Nov. 12 from Romania’s Appeals Court for his part in a corruption scandal that has swept Romanian football.

The former Galatasaray and Barcelona star was one of several top football figures to receive what are the heaviest sentences handed down in the country for corruption in football.

Popescu, who is best remembered in Turkey for scoring the deciding penalty against Arsenal that won the 2000 UEFA Cup for Galatasaray, was found guilty along with his seven co-defendants of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

They were accused of not declaring the whole amount of transfers of players from 1999-2005 and had all been acquitted in their first trial in April.

The former executive president of Dinamo Bucharest, Cristian Borcea, was sentenced to seven years prison while the majority stakeholder in Rapid Bucharest, George Copos, was sent to prison for five years.
Mihai Stoica, a director of Steaua Bucharest, was condemned to four years in prison.

According to prosecutors, the undeclared parts of the transfer fees were paid into bank accounts in the Virgin Islands and in the Netherlands at a cost of $1.5 million to the state, $10 million to the four clubs involved and $600,000 to the Romanian Football Federation (FRF).

The transfers involved in the scandal were those of Florin Bratu, transferred from Rapid Bucharest to Galatasaray, Nicolae Mitea, from Dinamo Bucharest to Dutch giants Ajax, Cosmin Contra from Dinamo to Spanish outfit Alaves, Ionel Ganea from Gloria Bistrita to Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart.