Mar 06, 2014

    Popescu jailed 3 years for corruption


    FORMER Romania football great and Barcelona captain Gheorghe Popescu was jailed for three years and a month on Tuesday for his part in a corruption scandal that shook Romanian football.

    The 45-year-old - capped 115 times and a member of the side that reached the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals - was one of several high-profile football figures to receive what are the heaviest sentences handed down in the country for corruption in football.

    Popescu, who won the 1997 Cup-Winners' Cup with Barcelona and league titles in Romania, Turkey and the Netherlands - and was Romanian player of the year five times - was taken from the court and imprisoned in a Bucharest prison, according to police sources.

    He and his fellow accused were found guilty of not declaring the whole amount of fees paid for the transfers of 12 players from their respective clubs to foreign teams from 1999 to 2005.

    They were all acquitted at their first trial before being tried again, with Popescu receiving a three-year suspended sentence in November 2012. The case was heard for a third time.

    The others convicted include former president of Dinamo Bucharest, Cristian Borcea (six years and four months), and former president of Rapid Bucharest, George Copos (three years and eight months).

    Among the transfers involved in the scandal were those of international trio Nicolae Mitea, transferred from Dinamo Bucharest to Dutch giants Ajax, Cosmin Contra from Dinamo to Spanish outfit Alaves, and Ionel Ganea from Gloria Bistrita to German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart.